When it comes to obtaining Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno made it clear he wants to keep him.
With the two-way star becoming a free agent after this season and every team with a lot of monetary value wanting him, Moreno dished on Ohtani, among other things, in a sitdown interview with Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci. Including what it would take for another team to acquire Ohtani.
Despite Ohtani appearing to be out of the reach of teams, Moreno told Verducci there were legitimate offers to acquire Ohtani.
“We had five real offers for Ohtani,” Moreno told Verducci. “People say, ‘Why didn’t you trade him?’ He’s one of the best hitters and best pitchers and he’s probably the most popular player. Nobody’s going to give us three major league players for him or else they would have to empty out their minor league system. But how do you replace him? You don’t.”
You really don’t. Teams would have to give up a lot — and Moreno won’t be listening to these offers especially if the Angels are playing well.
“I will say it on the record,” Moreno says. “We will not trade Ohtani while we are contending for a playoff spot.”
Moreno was then asked if that would be the case if the Angels no longer were in contention.
“I’m not going to answer that, and I’ll tell you why,” he says. “We expect to be a playoff contender. Everything in our plans putting this team together is about getting to the playoffs. So, I’m not going to sit here and wonder what happens in an outcome we’re not planning for. That would be like a fighter going into the ring and thinking, ‘What if I lose?’ If he does that, he will lose.”
Either way, Moreno made it clear, he’s loved every minute Ohtani has been with his team.
“He is absolutely a pleasure to watch every day. And he’s a gentleman. He’s just great. It was really hard to take anything away from [Aaron] Judge and that record of 62 home runs. But you can’t tell me that Judge was a more valuable baseball player than someone who excels as a pitcher and a hitter. Well, I guess it depends how you define valuable. The argument is, is it about wins and losses or is it the best player? That’s the two different arguments.”
Ohtani went to the Angels in his inaugural MLB season in 2018. After that, the Ohtani-era took over MLB in 2021 when he became the first two-way player (pitcher and designated hitter) in MLB history with 10-plus home runs, 20-plus stolen bases as a hitter and 100-plus strikeouts, and 10-plus pitcher appearances as a pitcher in the same season. And he was unanimously selected as the AL MVP.
It would be almost impossible to put together a possible trade package for him, but whatever he earns in free agency, it’ll be what he deserves. It also will for sure be a historic one.
Moreno is aware of the impact Ohtani has on the game.
“People ask me, ‘Shouldn’t you get something?’ But we get to see him every day. That’s not nothing. These people get to come and watch the best players,” Moreno added. “They’re going to tell their grandkids, ‘I saw Ohtani play.’”