Shohei Ohtani’s $700 Million Deal: Toronto Blue Jays or Mike Trout, Who Bears the Bigger Blow?
The talk of the town is Shohei Ohtani’s massive $700 million contract. “This is a unique, historic contract for a unique, historic player”, as Nez Balelo put it. By having the two-way phenom on board, the Los Angeles Dodgers have won (in more than one sense). When there’s a winner, there always is a loser. Could it be the Toronto Blue Jays from whose hands Ohtani recently slipped? Or could it be Ohtani’s close teammate and friend, Mike Trout?
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Well, speaking of teams, it is no secret that the Los Angeles Angels might not have been a great environment for Ohtani during his prime. During his 6 year stint with the Halos, the unicorn has never played the playoffs. But with the prowess that he brings to the table, it is unfair to him and his uncapped talents. Another player who finds himself in a fix is Mike Trout. With that, the blow might be bigger than one can imagine.
A Quick Glance at What Happened During the Two-Way Phenom’s Free Agency
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Presenting the story in a nutshell. Shohei Ohtani joined the Angels in 2018, which was a good platform for him to showcase his talents. But was not good enough for his career in terms of winning. But, the good thing is, ‘Troutani’ rose to fame as the MLB world started seeing a great partnership there. However, soon enough, it was time for the much-awaited free agency and the Dodgers grabbed the pricey opportunity for 10 years, snatching the Japanese star from the Blue Jays who reportedly almost had him. With that, Mike Trout is now left behind with the Angels and their subpar winning prospects.
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First, it’s worth diving into the Toronto debacle surrounding Ohtani’s signing, on Friday. The odds were heavily inclined toward the possibility of Shohei being a Blue Jay as per reports, rather, one report in particular. What was potentially a great day for celebration turned into a typical all-hell-broke-loose situation when the news was falsified. Following that, on Saturday, the former Angel announced on his Instagram that he would go on to be a Dodger, leaving the Jays in complete shambles. Perhaps they were not the only ones affected by this news.
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There’s no way this did not touch Mike Trout, who had once tried to give a sales pitch to Ohtani to stay on with the Halos. Trout’s Angels have not been competitive for seven years. During this period, they finished 161 games behind the first-place team, managing to secure at most a third in the AL West only once. Though the 32-year-old said, “We’re going out there to win. We definitely have a good team’’, he knew that Shotime’s departure was soon to come. Hence, he took matters into his own hand.
The 11x All-Star’s words, “I’m going to do everything I can to keep Shohei here for sure” attested that he wanted the ‘Troutani’ saga to go on in order to make things work in LA. However, destiny had its own plans. While Ohtani is already booked for the upcoming 10 years, the Blue Jays have started to look for other options available in this year’s free agency.
The Blue Jays Look For Other Options as They Grieve a Non-Ohtani December
Indeed, on one side, things did fall into place for LA, albeit for a different team. On the other, the AL East suitor for the Oshu-born contemplates their future. The Blue Jays have encountered a setback, failing to acquire two prominent free agents of the offseason. That includes the prime trade target, outfielder Juan Soto, who recently joined the New York Yankees. Having gained the second position in the race for top market players, they now need to revamp their December strategy to ensure a solid playoff in the highly competitive AL East.
Shohei Ohtani is NOT in Toronto.
Ohtani is NOT on a flight to Toronto.
Ohtani is at home in Southern California.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 8, 2023
As the team goes through the five stages of grief, they asses their next best options, knowing there’s no one out there to give the same kind of output as the unicorn. The Blue Jays now prioritize position players. That said, the next best free agent is Cody Bellinger. They might make a run at him. The camp remains interested in bringing back third baseman Matt Chapman, too. With a topsy-turvy winter underway for the team, it becomes monumental to make better decisions where they have an upper hand. With Ohtani gone, it’s also worth looking at how his former team would look.
Shohei Ohtani Leaves Mike Trout Behind
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The Angles’ Center Fielder stands alone in Anaheim. While the star spent his time in Southern California, he lost touch with the feels of victory. Ohtani, on the contrary, was always vocal about wanting to win, and he did not make a second guess when it was time to jump ship. This leaves the “organization that’s become famous for its haplessness and squandering of the historic peaks of not only Ohtani but also Mike Trout” in a tough spot.
Seems like there’s not much to do apart from restructuring, considering the Angels’ record of enduring eight consecutive seasons without success. To add to their misery, they have undergone regular changes in management; currently they are with their fifth manager since 2018. Is this really an ideal environment for a sports person like Trout? Could the Angels trade him?
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Well, Perry Minasian was quick to shun any talk about that. He said, “Mike Trout is not getting traded. 100%.” Trout possesses a full no-trade clause with seven years and roughly $250 million remaining on his contract. Hence, dealing with him would be an extremely complicated endeavor. The management could opt to build the team around Trout now. But until the “sad-sack Angels” come up with a drastic and transformational move, they are likely to remain in their present state. With them, Mike would be stuck until the last year of his contract.