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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Ohtani Injury Casts Doubt On Record Contract, Angels’ Future Plans

  • Two-way phenom potentially facing second Tommy John surgery, will no longer pitch this season.
  • Injury could remove hundreds of millions from what had been expected to be record-setting pact.
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

What was expected to be the largest contract in U.S. pro team sports history has taken a troubling and uncertain turn.

Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, who will hit free agency this offseason, tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on Wednesday — and will not pitch again this season. 

Arguably the most anticipated free agent in baseball history, Ohtani now potentially faces a second Tommy John surgery, a move that could remove hundreds of millions of dollars from a contract previously projected to reach as high as $600 million.

“A tough day for him. Tough day for all of us,” said Angels GM Perry Minasian.

Late last month, the Angels opted to “roll the dice” at the trade deadline and keep Ohtani — a near-lock to earn his second MVP award — in the hopes of earning their first playoff berth since 2014. But that decision has yielded disastrous results, including a 5-16 post-deadline record that has left the team well out of contention and injuries to superstars Ohtani and Mike Trout.

Franchise Uncertainty

The Ohtani news also extends a long run of turbulence for the Angels, who under Arte Moreno have been continually beset with ownership and stadium issues. 

Despite playing in the country’s second-largest media market with two generational talents and attendance totals and payrolls regularly ranking in MLB’s top 10, the Angels are tied with Detroit for the league’s longest playoff drought, have employed four different GMs and four field managers since 2011, and have been increasingly known for organizational instability.

“It’s been a decade of disaster,” a team staffer told ESPN.

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