There’s no doubt there will be an ESPN 30 for 30 on how tragically bad the Los Angeles Angels organization has been during the last decade. How do Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, the two most talented players in the league, have zero playoff appearances throughout their tenure with the Angels?
Now, baseball is a team game — there’s no arguing that. One simply can’t put all the blame on Trout or Ohtani, but instead on an organizational failure as a whole from the Angels. From coaching woes to player woes — there hasn’t been much team success.
But I can’t fathom how the league has been robbed of seeing Ohtani and Trout shine together in the playoffs. The league hasn’t even seen Ohtani in the playoffs ever, and in the same respect, Trout has only been to the playoffs once in his lengthy 13-year career. And yes, Trout is entering his 13th year playing for the Angels as the 2023 MLB season unfolds.
Trout turns 32 this year, and Ohtani is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2023 season. At the very least, the Angels must make the playoffs this season, otherwise, they face the daunting reality of likely losing Ohtani in free agency.
Ohtani is set to draw a huge amount of interest from other household teams such as the Dodgers, Yankees and whoever else has the cash flow to afford the superstar. He’s a spectacle of talent — and talent sells tickets. Anyone and everyone will be looking to snag the Japanese two-way star.
For Ohtani, there wouldn’t be any reason to stay with the Angels if they can’t make the playoffs and, at the very least, help boost his brand image.
Ohtani has also probably noted how Trout’s career in Anaheim has been disappointing in terms of team accolades. All that talent for what? Trout is one of the greatest baseball players of all time, but imagine if he had a World Series pennant to show for it.
Given that, the two-way star Ohtani is only 28 years old and in the midst of his prime. He’s done just about everything the baseball world can offer, including an MLB All-Star, an AL MVP and a World Baseball Classic championship title. I mean, he’s done it all, except win a World Series.
For that reason alone, the Angels are in one of their most anticipated seasons in recent memory, with the foreseeable future of their franchise likely on the line. The Angels can’t afford to let Ohtani walk away in free agency, but they also can’t waste another year of Trout’s prime.
For as humble and modest as Trout is, you can certainly bet he’s frustrated with how his talent hasn’t translated to wins. If he wants to solidify himself as one of the game’s true all-time greats, a pennant would cement him on a short list of legendary five-tool players.
With that being said, the Angels are in a loaded division with the always-dangerous Houston Astros, Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners. Those teams are filled with great pitching and solid bats, from top to bottom.
Luckily for the Angels, the A’s remain in their division (sorry A’s fans) — so they likely have one less threat to worry about.
Ultimately, the 2023 season will dictate how the Angels organization will look for the coming years. Will they find a way to make the playoffs and utilize their two superstars, Trout and Ohtani? Or will there be more of the same disappointing below-.500 seasons? Good luck, if you’re an Angels fan.