The Angels won baseball’s lottery. Early Friday afternoon, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim signed Japan phenom pitcher and hitter, Shohei Ohtani. This comes as a surprise to many. Although the Angels were on the 7-team final list put out by Ohtani many people had two AL West rivals. The Mariners and Rangers–listed as more likely landing spots for Ohtani than the Angels. Nonetheless, Ohtani joins a team that is home to the best player in baseball. With a team that was five games back of making a wild-card spot in the AL a year ago. For the Angels, this is a chance to go all in. Paying Ohtani the rookie minimum–with a little over 2-million in international bonus money. Along with the aforementioned Mike Trout roaming the outfield, it is time LA.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas, a Los Angeles native, is on the open market and would love to go back home by all accounts. Moose–as fans affectionately call him–should be the Angels top priority heading into this week’s Winter Meetings in Orlando. Go get him. Jake Arrieta is a free agent, Wade Davis, Greg Holland, anybody..somebody! Go for it.
The Angels lineup now includes: Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Justin Upton, Andrelton Simmons, and now Shohei Ohtani is in the mix.
There are still Issues
No one really knows how Angels skipper Mike Scioscia will use his newly acquired swiss army knife, the 59-year-old baseball lifer is a two-time manager of the year. The scary part about the do-it-all-Ohtani signing with the Angels is Scioscia’s analytical background–or lack thereof. Part of the problem with the Angels roster construction is they have Albert Pujols taking up that designated hitter spot. How will Scioscia get Shohei Ohtani some AB’s? Baseball fans must pray to a higher power the Angels allow Ohtani to remain a pitcher and hitter, even if he struggles at first. Allow him to grow, and see if he can do both at a high level. In a game that is become so specialized, do not make Ohtani pick one or the other.
As for the 23-year-old second-coming of Babe Ruth, his agent said the Japanese star “Felt a strong connection with the Angels and believes they can best help him reach his goals.”
One thing is for sure, this makes the Angels a must-watch team in 2018. For baseball’s sake, we all hope this works out.