Shohei Ohtani may need locked up the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award on Sunday, with seven dominant innings towards a visiting Seattle Mariners workforce nonetheless combating for a spot within the postseason. But his Los Angeles Angels finally misplaced for the 82nd time in 2021, solidifying one thing else: a sixth consecutive dropping season in Anaheim, California.
Four of these have come with Ohtani on the workforce, the final of which occurred whereas he navigated arguably essentially the most uniquely spectacular season in baseball historical past. After Sunday’s 5-1 loss, Ohtani — ineligible totally free company till after the 2023 season — was requested if he desires to keep with the Angels long run.
“I really like the team,” Ohtani mentioned by way of his interpreter, including that he hasn’t spoken with the group a few potential extension. “I love the fans, I love the atmosphere of the team, but more than that, I want to win. That’s the biggest thing for me. I’ll leave it at that.”
Ohtani’s feedback got here a day after Mike Trout, who hasn’t performed since May due to a hard calf harm, expressed urgency with his want to beef up the roster, saying partially: “This offseason is going to be big. We have a lot of money to spend.” Earlier within the week, Angels supervisor Joe Maddon expressed related, extra pointed frustration.
“This can’t continue to go on,” Maddon instructed reporters earlier than Wednesday’s sport. “We can’t annually be in this position. This organization is better than that. We deserve better than that. We have to go out and earn it.”
The Angels received minimal manufacturing from the high-priced Trout, Anthony Rendon and Justin Upton in 2021 — not to point out Albert Pujols, who was launched earlier than the top of May — however an absence of high quality pitching continues to be a significant drawback
Ohtani, no less than, made important contributions on each side. He threw seven innings of one-run ball towards the Mariners, placing out 10 batters and strolling none to decrease his ERA to 3.18 and lift his strikeout complete to 156. Offensively, Ohtani — with two triples on Saturday and 11 walks over the earlier three video games — is batting .258/.371/.595 with 45 house runs and 24 stolen bases. His 7.9 FanGraphs wins above substitute leads the majors.
And but, regardless of unprecedented contributions, the Angels rank seventeenth in runs per sport and twenty second in ERA.
“If nothing changes on the team,” Ohtani mentioned, “I think it’s gonna be really hard to be in playoff contention.”
The Angels may have Pujols’ contract off the books this offseason, however they are going to be paying Trout, Rendon and Upton a mixed $99.45 million in 2022. (Upton will likely be within the last 12 months of his contract by then.) The Angels have a necessity at shortstop, however most significantly, individuals all through the game have mentioned, they want to revamp their bullpen and add two front-line beginning pitchers if they honestly want to contend.
Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Robbie Ray and Noah Syndergaard are among the many free-agent beginning pitchers who will quickly develop into accessible. The Angels additionally might use both Jo Adell or Brandon Marsh to purchase pitching assist, however the two younger outfielders have struggled within the main leagues.
The Angels had been considered one of baseball’s most profitable franchises within the 2000s, however they’ve made the playoffs solely as soon as over these previous 12 years — regardless of having Trout, arguably the sport’s greatest participant, for the overwhelming majority of that point.
“It’s very frustrating, very disappointing,” Ohtani mentioned of lacking out on the postseason. “I always look forward to being in the playoff race at the end and trying to talk about the playoffs with my teammates. I always think about it, so, yeah, it’s been disappointing.”
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