With all the glitz and glamor found in the rosters of Southern California’s hit sports teams, there’s only a little bit of bling that really interests them.
They play for rings. They build for rings. Without rings, they are irrelevant.
They know these championships aren’t about style, they’re about substance, and they win them not just with the shine of the stars, but with the guts of the role-players, the depth, and the team.
The ball from the Dodgers’ last title game landed in the hands of backup catcher Austin Barnes. Arguably the best player in the Lakers’ last crowning game was sixth man Rajon Rondo. The cornerstone of the Rams’ only title was a Hidden Hulk named Andrew Whitworth.
That brings us to the Angels, whose last championship win 21 years ago was thanks to a freshman named John Lackey.
These current Angels have the biggest star in Major League Baseball right now, a far bigger star than anyone on the 2002 team, possibly the greatest player in baseball history, but he’ll likely be eliminated at the end of the season, and they stand out front with a widespread choice.
Do they keep Shohei Ohtani until October and risk losing him for practically nothing? Or will they swap it out before the August 1st deadline and bolster their roster with at least two starting players and a number of prospects to build a team that can eventually win one of those rings?
Here it says: exchange it.
If Arte Moreno truly wants to own a Los Angeles team that isn’t limited to just first names, victory will trump all else for him, and trying to keep Ohtani past August 1 is a losing proposition.
trade him Swallow hard and swap it out. Sacrifice all that marketing revenue and trade him. Annoy your fans and swap it out.
Use it to build this mastery and trade it. Change the face of your underdog franchise and swap it out. Sacrifice style for substance and trade it in.
Ohtani already has one foot out the door. Don’t let him slam the door in your face.
Have you heard that he values victory above everything else, even more than the calm and soothing confines of Anaheim?
“I like the fans. “I like the atmosphere in the organization,” he said two years ago. “But my feeling of wanting to win is stronger.”
If you believe that, it’s pretty clear he’s not coming back. If he wasn’t convinced yet, a recent injury-related losing streak that brought the Angels back to the brink of insignificance after the season may have reinforced him.
Listen to him and act with him. Listen to your gut feeling and exchange it. Be fearless and swap it out.
yes it stinks
In a perfect world, Ohtani would be an angel forever, ending his major league career where it began six years ago, with one of the few teams who valued him before the rest of the baseball world realized he was Babe Ruth .
He’s actually better than Babe Ruth, he’s a top 10 hitter and top 20 pitcher, and at just 29 years old he’s at the peak of his career, no more stats needed, you’ve seen him, he’s a unicorn .
In a perfect world, Ohtani and teammate Mike Trout would have swung into the sunset together as a dynamic, multi-championship duo.
But in the grim reality that has shaped the Angels’ existence for more than a decade, Ohtani and Trout haven’t even appeared in a playoff game together, and the past six years have been a complete waste.
The Angels haven’t played in the postseason in nine years. They haven’t won a playoff game in 14 years. And this year doesn’t seem to be going to be a streak-buster.
The recent spate of injuries has cost them six starters, most notably Trout, who is sidelined for at least a month with a broken hand. During this somber stretch, the Angels have lost eight of nine games and found themselves in the middle of a crowded wildcard race. And their upcoming schedule after the All-Star break and before the trade deadline offers little relief, as their first six games against the New York Yankees and Houston Astros and later series will be played in Toronto and Atlanta.
It’s enough to grit a manager’s teeth.
“It’s one of those things, you just have to assert yourself,” said Phil Nevin ahead of Friday’s 11-4 loss to the Dodgers in Chavez Ravine. “It’s next.”
The problem with the Angels is that there are very few replacements. They lack the organizational depth to provide adequate reserves like the Dodgers always do. Your best players perish, with nothing left to fill the void.
What they need is something only Ohtani can give them. You need strong perspectives. You need reliable cornerstones. Simply put, you need more good players, and the best way to get that fast is to use Ohtani as a chip to win them over.
If he leaves in November, they’ll get practically nothing — likely a second-round draft pick — and the last six years have been wasted.
Seriously, it stinks.
The tale of the sports superstar who stays in one place forever rarely has a happy ending. You can’t rely on that. You can’t believe it.
LeBron James should never have left Cleveland, but he did. Tom Brady should never have left New England, but he did. And Ohtani should never leave Anaheim, but he will.
Regardless of how much Ohtani feels about his loyalty, all indications are that he will be pursuing a $500 million contract from a place that has legitimate championship odds. Did you see how excited he was about winning last spring’s World Baseball Classic? This is about more than just dollars, this is about national level titles, Ohtani has got a taste and he clearly wants more.
If he stays, he might never get that chance. His wingman Trout is a player who is slowly losing weight and whose body has been damaged by his tireless efforts. The other star, Anthony Rendon, cannot stay on the field. By paying these three guys, Moreno would have little left to build a team around them and Ohtani certainly knows that.
He would re-sign with a roster that needs a first baseman, a second baseman, and a bunch of pitchers… and no short and clear path to winning them.
It is obvious what will happen and what must happen, even if the angels are tired of hearing about it.
I asked Nevin if the Ohtani stuff was a distraction.
“What stuff?” he said.
The Ohtani Trade Talk.
“I don’t talk about it,” he said. “You’re the first I’m hearing about it today.”
“I don’t pay attention to that,” he said. “I know it’s going to continue like this, the players and us, we don’t talk about it. When we come out we know that he is our teammate today.”
“And we’re willing to use him and be with him the best we can,” Nevin said. “He’s a great teammate, he loves being here, we love having him here.”
All true, but their paths are likely to part soon and there seems to be only one way this adorable relationship can end happily ever after.