Mike Trout Shohei Ohtani Sep 7, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) celebrates with designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) after hitting solo home run in the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Shohei Ohtani’s next contract will almost certainly set a record for North American team sports.

The Los Angeles Angels superstar is set to become a free agent after this season, and some insiders believe he’ll command more than $600 million for a new deal.

The Angels’ other generational talent, Mike Trout, said Friday he doesn’t believe Ohtani’s decision will come down to money.

In fact, he has a simple plan he thinks will help keep Ohtani with the Angels — just keep winning.

In an interview with Foul Territory TV, Trout was asked if he had a “pitch” to keep Ohtani in Anaheim.

‘What’s the pitch? We’ve got to win, brother, we got to get to the playoffs,” Trout said. “Obviously, the biggest thing to keeping him here is to get to the playoffs. We’ve been winning, we’ve been having some good stretches, we’ve got a great group, and he’s enjoying it.

“It’s going to be interesting. Obviously, I’m going to do everything I can to make him stay. People are throwing out these huge numbers, but I don’t think it’s about the money, man. I think if we can win …”

Despite having two of baseball’s all-time greats in their lineup the past five seasons, the Angels have improbably, impossibly, never had a winning season with Trout and Ohtani together. But the Angels were 44-39 entering Friday. Trout thinks Ohtani is more likely to stick around if the team keeps winning.

“I think ultimately it comes down to he just wants to win and have some fun,” Trout said. “He wants to make a run. I think if we can do that, that would be the best pitch you could do, to make that run and have him enjoy it.”

Trout, a three-time AL MVP, went on to say he thinks Ohtani is both the best pitcher and hitter in the game.

“He’s the best, I would say, at both (hitting and pitching),” Trout said. “After facing him in the WBC, I faced a lot of pitches. Man, I haven’t seen anything like that pretty much ever.”

Ohtani is having an historic season, leading baseball in home runs (29), OPS (1.057) and several other offensive categories, while compiling a 7-3 mark with a 3.02 ERA. He leads the majors with 12 strikeouts per nine innings.

So it is going to cost a team quite a bit to sign Ohtani, who turns 29 on July 5.

If just saying nice things about Ohtani would be enough to keep him with the Angels, Trout probably sealed the deal Friday, heaping praise on the two-way star.

“He’s always trying to help other teammates when something goes wrong,” Trout said. “He’s there to pick us up. He’s really smart. A lot of people … figure he just shows up to the field and hits 460-foot homers every night and throws 12 Ks, but he knows the game better than anybody.”

[Foul Territory TV]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.