Angels owner Arte Moreno, who had not spoken to the media in any detail in nearly three years, told the New York Post on Wednesday that he would like to re-sign Shohei Ohtani, and he believes it’s an achievable goal.
“I’d like to say we have as good a chance as anybody,” Moreno told the Post outside of the MLB owners’ meetings in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Projections for the next contract for the Angels’ two-way superstar have indicated a deal worth $500 million or more, which would surpass the record $426 million deal the Angels gave Mike Trout in 2019.
“Economically we’re usually in the top 10, so it’s not out of the question,” said Moreno, who last month announced he was no longer trying to sell the team.
This year the Angels have already committed to about $206 million in major league salaries, which would be a franchise record. They currently have the seventh-highest payroll in the majors. That includes $30 million for Ohtani in his final year before free agency.
Ohtani, 28, has said little about his future status with the Angels beyond saying that he likes the people with the Angels, but he’s frustrated that the team has not been able to win. The Angels have not had a winning record in any of Ohtani’s five seasons despite him winning the 2021 American League MVP award and being the runner-up in 2022.
Moreno acknowledged that is a significant issue.
“We have to win, we have to do a better job on the field,” Moreno said.
To that end, the Angels have refused to trade Ohtani, despite the feeling around baseball – including among many Angels fans – that the team could do better by getting a haul of prospects in exchange for Ohtani.
Moreno rejected the idea that there could be a fair trade for Ohtani.
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“It’s true we could have traded him,” Moreno said. “But how do you get (back) a major league starting pitcher and Cy Young candidate, and obviously an MVP type? How do you trade for that? You can’t.”
Beyond Ohtani’s value on the field, he is a gate attraction, and he leads to lucrative sponsorships from Japan. All of that has value to the Angels.
“He fits in well with what we do,” Moreno said. “We’re in the entertainment business. We want fans to be able to come to the ballpark and have a great experience.”