In extension talks for Ohtani?

CARLSBAD, Calif. – One of the main stories for the Angels this offseason will be to see if the team can agree to an extension with Shohei Ohtani.

Ohtani, the favorite to win the AL Most Valuable Player award, remains under the club’s control for two more years and will be earning $ 5.5 million in 2022, before being eligible for arbitration in 2023. The Angels have said that their priority is to retain Ohtani beyond 2023, similar to when they agreed with Mike Trout on a 12-year contract extension shortly before the start of the 2019 season, with two seasons remaining on his contract.

Angels general manager Perry Minasian met with Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo of CAA Sports, at the General Manager Meetings Tuesday. However, both parties declined to comment on a potential extension for Ohtani.

“He’s under contract,” Minasian said. “I don’t talk much about negotiations. But we are happy to have it. That I do tell you ”.

Balelo said Ohtani enjoys playing for the Angels and is confident the organization is heading in the right direction.

“It’s something I never talk about,” Balelo said. “It could be in the middle of something, but it is my own policy. We don’t talk about deals or extensions talks. But look, this is what I can say about the Angels. It is a great organization. He is extremely happy here. He likes to be part of the club. We’ll see”.

Ohtani was asked about a possible extension at the end of the season and initially said that what mattered most to him was winning. But then he clarified his comments by saying that he was happy with the Angels and would be open to an extension.

The Angels haven’t had a positive record season since 2015, but Balelo said he believes Minasian and the rest of the club are committed to building a winning team this offseason. Balelo said that after speaking with Minasian, he was convinced of the team’s commitment to improving the roster.

“I know one of the things he has in mind is building a competitive team,” said Balelo. “He’s focused on that. I think it’s wonderful. You always have a plan as a general manager to go after certain players. Hopefully some of them can strengthen the club. They are close to being a really dynamic team. “

The Angels should have financial flexibility to extend Ohtani, especially after Justin Upton’s contract ends after the 2022 season. The only people on the club’s payroll after the next season are Trout, Anthony Rendón and David Fletcher. It would be a huge amount of money tied to a small group of players, especially if they offer multi-year contracts this offseason, but the Angels have shown a willingness to spend on stellar pieces, under owner Arte Moreno.

Minasian declined to discuss a specific figure, but is confident that the group of owners will be willing to make the necessary moves.

“I think the beauty of having a group of owners like Arte and Carole [Moreno] I can examine everything, ”Minasian confessed. “I can say, ‘Look, we have this. So he can help us’ and that, for me, is one of the reasons why I’m sitting here today.

Balelo also praised the Minasian and manager Joe Maddon for being open with Ohtani throughout the year, lifting the limitations he had before the start of 2021. Instead of removing him from the lineup the day before, at his opening and at the Later, Ohtani was in the Angels’ lineup almost daily. He hit .257 / .372 / .592 with 46 homers, 26 doubles, eight triples, 100 RBIs, 103 runs scored and 26 stolen bases in 115 games. On the hill, he was 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA with 156 strikeouts in 130.1 innings.

“We removed the limitations and decided to be honest,” confessed Balelo. “‘We are going to make sure that if you are tired, you will communicate it.’ Joe was fantastic. That made Ohtani feel very comfortable. “


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In extension talks for Ohtani?