After a player has a The Angels Angels uniform, it’s easy to imagine him in the colors of any team. It’s a hangout for mercenaries, a place to get money, live in L.A., and enjoy the professional lifestyle without worrying about winning or expectations. That’s why every coastal elite club should throw big chunks of money at Shohei Ohtani.
He’s already made one business decision by joining the Angels, and there’s little reason to believe his knowledge has disappeared with the way he’s operating.
Yes, he wants to win, but if there was a glimmer of hope for the delusional Angel franchise, it was snuffed out on Friday night when the pitcher/power hitter cleared out his locker. The team declined to elaborate, saying they will provide an update today, and unless it’s “We’re selling the team because we’re unequivocally bad at this,” nothing in the announcement will surprise baseball fans or media members.
So instead of filing another complaint with the front office, let’s talk about reasons not to break the bank for Ohtani, and I can’t think of any other than the injury. If I’m the Red Sox, Mets, Giants, Dodgers, Yankees, Mariners, Padres, Nationals, Phillies – literally every team in a major market on a coast – I’ll bid almost a billion and see who blinks first. That’s what the Saudis are doing, and it’s proven quite effective so far.
The only thing fans know for sure about the human Ohtani is that he is human (we think), and the seduction of trekkers full of cash – which does not need to be laundered – should be virtually impossible to refuse. Once a person tastes that kind of money, it seems he only wants more of it.
Any organization, even the Mets, is an upgrade from a winning standpoint, and I don’t think Ohtani will discount at all. He played to the angels, for God’s sake; he can be guided by wealth, a large market and the promise of success on the field.
(I also wouldn’t bring him in without a deep pitching staff or a contingency plan, because that part of Ohtani’s game puts his bat at risk. Maybe implement a monthly collection count? Something.)
Another reason you can easily spot Ohtani in a litany of clubs is because photoshopping players into your team’s discussions has become a pastime on Instagram. I can’t say how effective it is, but some of those images have to sink into the fans’ subconscious, right?
This will be the biggest bidding war since Bryce Harper, and Ohtani’s payday will make that $300 million deal seem strange. You could argue with Aaron Judge’s courtship a season ago, but he was destined to stay in New York, and it’s inevitable that Ohtani leaves the Angels.
If the L.A. front office didn’t ask Mike Trout out, so they can be free of guilt for trading him, I would suggest they offer Ohtani $1 billion, and see what happens. While I’m liberal with these owners’ finances, a story this week explained why more and more private equity invests in professional sports teams (Spoiler: That’s because big teams rarely, if ever, decrease in value) and the contracts will only continue to rise as a result.
Some analytical/techie guy probably already has an algorithm that calculates a player’s potential value-add, and as soon as he enters Ohtani’s numbers into the computer, the machine breaks. Teams are going to place bids as if Ohtani is Phil Connors at the qualifying bachelor auction. Just pure lust, or love, by a bunch of guys with a ton of money, and the discipline of the best free agent of this century, perhaps ever, will certainly be tested.