Shohei Ohtani eyes MLB free agency: 'It sucks to lose' | Inquirer Sports

Shohei Ohtani eyes MLB free agency: ‘It sucks to lose’

/ 04:35 PM July 11, 2023

 Los Angeles Angels player Shohei Ohtani MLB

Jul 10, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Los Angeles Angels player Shohei Ohtani during the All-Star Home Run Derby at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Japanese pitcher and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani is fed up after five losing seasons in Major League Baseball without reaching the playoffs as the chance to test free agency nears.

The 29-year-old two-way superstar told reporters on Monday in Seattle ahead of the MLB All-Star Game that his hunger to reach the post-season grows as his sixth campaign appears to be another dud with the Los Angeles Angels at 45-46.


“Those feelings get stronger year by year,” Ohtani said through a translator. “It sucks to lose. (I want) to win, so it gets stronger every year.”


Ohtani, set the be the designated hitter for the American League in Tuesday’s annual showdown against the National League, will become a free agent after this season.

“I’ve never been a free agent before so I’m not sure how that’s going to be,” Ohtani said.

The Angels, fourth in the AL West division, have dropped nine of their last 10 games this season to dip below .500.

They haven’t reached the playoffs since 2014 and haven’t won a playoff series since 2009.

Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani MLB

Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani (17) waits to bat during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, June 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Ohtani is 7-4 as a right-handed pitcher with a 3.32 earned-run average and 132 strikeouts over 100 1/3 innings pitched so far this season. At the plate, he’s hitting .302 with an MLB-best 32 home runs, and 71 runs batted in.

The Angels went 80-82 in 2018, when Ohtani was the AL Rookie of the Year, but haven’t finished as well since then, even in 2021 when Ohtani was the AL Most Valuable Player.


As the first starring MLB regular fielder and pitcher since Babe Ruth more than a century ago, Ohtani has been a major draw across the major leagues and figures to command some long-term offers from contenders who might make his playoff dream a reality in future seasons.

They might also make him the richest contract offer in MLB history, although such negotiations will come after Ohtani tries once more to make the Angels fly high.

“I’m focused on this season right now,” Ohtani said of free agency. “I just want to do my best to get as many wins as possible.”

There is also MLB’s August 1 trade deadline, before which the Angels could make a swap to get talent in return for Ohtani, something that wouldn’t happen if he played out his contract and departed.

“I have no control over it, so I try not to think about it,” Ohtani said of the trade deadline. “I just focus on the game that day.”

Among the most mentioned clubs interested in a long-term deal with Ohtani are the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants.

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But as Ohtani said about reports in 2018 that he was near signing with the Chicago Cubs when he first came to MLB from Japan — “All those reports, probably most of them are lies. People make stuff up so I don’t think you should believe everything you read.”


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TAGS: Los Angeles Angels, MLB, Shohei Ohtani

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