Did Shohei Ohtani Just Quit On His Teammates?
As I groggily emerged from sleep on this pristine, early-autumn Saturday, the fatigue from the first full week of classes weighed on me. I reached for one of my three phones and, yet again, discovered I’d missed a 2 a.m. breaking tweet about Shohei Ohtani. I can't help but wish he'd make a move to Boston next year, just to save me the hassle of West Coast news updates. It seems that both Shohei and I have reached our breaking points.
Today's headline announced that Ohtani had cleared out his locker after missing yet another game due to an oblique injury. A few weeks back, I reported that there were strong voices in Ohtani's inner circle urging him to undergo Tommy John surgery ASAP. The goal? To be ready to DH by Opening Day 2024. Sources told me, however, that Ohtani’s intense competitiveness and camaraderie with his teammates were causing him to hesitate.
Now, fast-forward to the present. The Angels have reportedly given Mike Trout the green light to pursue a trade, and Anthony Rendon is nursing a still-unannounced broken tibia. Suffice it to say, there's a cloud of ambiguity hanging over the Angels organization, with Ohtani seemingly at the epicenter.
Jeff Fletcher, the Angels’ beat writer, opined this morning that it's standard practice for a player's locker to be emptied if they're out for the season or slated for surgery. However, this typically occurs post-announcement, not pre-announcement. The Angels' silence last night could have been shattered with a simple statement about Ohtani undergoing an elbow procedure and concluding his season. Instead, they've fueled further speculation.
So, we're left to wonder: Did Shohei Ohtani just walk away from his team?
It’s hard to believe, given his renowned competitive nature. Surely, he must be wrestling internally with the season’s unfortunate turn of events. But if he did indeed walk away, what does that accomplish apart from tarnishing both his and the team's reputations? Moreover, he denies fans the chance to bid farewell to perhaps the greatest talent ever to don an Angels jersey.
If the Angels orchestrated this murky scenario, then it’s high time to question Art Moreno’s ownership. And if it's Ohtani and his camp pulling the strings, they need a reminder of who stands to lose the most in this messy situation: the fans.
I do not actually think that Corey Seager has any chance of winning MVP with the information that we currently have. I also think even if Ohtani is the aggressor in this situation that writers will side with him. However, Seager’s production in only 104 games is insane and it put the Rangers right back into the playoffs at this moment. I don’t bet, but if I did I would throw $10 on Seager for fun.