After Angels Say He Won't Be Traded, Ohtani Throws a Beauty

Star pitches a one-hitter and slugs his 37th homer of the year
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 27, 2023 5:10 PM CDT
After Angels Say He Won't Be Traded, Ohtani Throws a Beauty
Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani pitches Thursday against the Detroit Tigers.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Shohei Ohtani looked his manager in the eye and, in just a few words, left no doubt of his intentions. "I'll finish it," Los Angeles Angels manager Phil Nevin recalled Ohtani telling him after the eighth inning of his first complete game in his Major League Baseball career against Detroit. "He wanted it." Hours before the two-way superstar delivered the message to his manager on Thursday, the Angels delivered one of their own. The franchise, desperate to make the playoffs for the first time since 2014, made a win-now trade to bolster its pitching staff and confirmed that Ohtani will stay for the rest of the season before he becomes a free agent, the AP reports.

"We're going to roll the dice and see what happens," Angels general manager Perry Minasian told reporters before a 6-0 win over the Tigers in the first game of a doubleheader, just days before MLB's trade deadline. Ohtani responded with his best start in the majors, throwing a one-hitter with eight strikeouts on 111 pitches, including fastballs nearing 100mph and wicked sliders and splitters that left the Tigers flailing. He added a two-run home run in the second inning of Game 2, his 37th homer of the season. It was just the latest display of why Ohtani could have landed a huge prospect haul in a trade, and why he's expected to cash in on perhaps the world's most lucrative contract in any sport this offseason.

Some speculate the 29-year-old slugger and starting pitcher on the open market might make more than $500 million in his next contract. "From the beginning, my plan was to finish strong this season with the Angels," Ohtani told reporters through his translator after Thursday's game. "I don't think things are really going to change mentally. But all the people talking about the trades, that's going to be all gone. So I feel like I'm just focused on taking this team to the playoffs." Aiming to bolster their chances of challenging for the AL West title or at least earning a wild card spot, the Angels acquired right-handers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López from the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night. "I think this is the first time in my six years that we're buyers," Ohtani said.

(More Major League Baseball stories.)

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