Shohei Ohtani has a shortlist, and he loves the West Coast. The Los Angeles Angels are on the West Coast.
Yesterday was an absolute whirlwind of a day that was filled to the brim with news about Shohei Ohtani. For the Angels, the Otani sweepstakes look promising. It all started off with some absolutely huge news:
What? The Yankees are out of the running? Whoa.
From there we began to get an idea of the teams that actually have a chance to land Ohtani:
Okay, San Francisco is a pretty large market and Seattle isn’t exactly small either, so that goes against reports he preferred a small market. But who else still has a chance?
As a hardcore Angels fan, I became irrationally excited. The day went on and more and more teams were revealed to be out of the running, but there wasn’t anything from the Angels. No good news, no bad news, not a single peep from Eppler or Moreno or anyone. Ken Rosenthal made my heart stop momentarily last night:
Thus began an hour of praying to the baseball gods that Billy Eppler used Mike Trout and Disneyland to make his pitch and offered Ohtani the GM position if he wanted it until, again, Ken Rosenthal updated us all:
Oh. My. Goodness.
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Did I get excited? Did I yell to the heavens in happiness? Was my mind filled with thoughts of a lineup with Trout, Ohtani, and Upton and a healthy rotation with Ohtani and Richards at the top of it and did I get an image of Mike Trout holding up a World Series trophy in Anaheim?
Maybe. It’s very hard to not be excited to be an Angels fan right now, and I personally still can’t believe it, but on second thought, it makes sense.
Southern California has a very high Japanese population, which will help Ohtani’s assimilation.
Anaheim provides all the perks of the big market without truly being the traditional big market, which checks off the “small market” box. They are on the West Coast.
Ohtani wants to be “the guy”, and while the Angels already have one of those in the lineup, they need one of those in the rotation. Ohtani has also said he doesn’t necessarily want to go to a contender, but rather grow into one with his team. The Angels find themselves in a very weird middle ground in that aspect, but Ohtani may very well put them into the playoffs.
While Shohei Ohtani will have many, many question marks regarding his ability to adjust to MLB hitters (and potentially MLB pitchers), he seems to possess the strong desire to do whatever he needs to do to succeed here in the States, and I for one will be very excited if that road takes him through the Big A.