Shohei Ohtani focused on offseason, even as Angels negotiate contract extension | Business
SEATTLE – Shohei Ohtani hasn’t given much thought to his historic season.
Between his 23 pitching starts, his near-daily role as the Angels’ designated hitter, and the meticulous inter-game routine that allowed him to handle both over a full MLB season, he didn’t have time.
But, on the eve of the offseason, the two-way star had already started making plans for the winter.
He will spend a few weeks in Anaheim, then return home to Japan. He wants to increase his off-season training workload, hoping to get even stronger next season.
And, if the Angels approach him to negotiate a possible contract extension, Ohtani said he would be open to that as well.
“They are, of course, the organization that has supported me the most over the past four years,” Ohtani said in Japanese ahead of the Angels’ season finale Sunday against the Seattle Mariners.
“I think I would speak to them, of course, with a feeling of openness. It doesn’t matter if that leads to anything, I individually want to have a strong offseason to make sure we can win next year.
Ohtani’s future with the Angels has become one of the biggest stories of the team’s regular season ending, following comments he made last week that seemed to potentially call into question s ‘he would like to stay with the club for the long haul – especially if they fail to become playoff contenders before he’s supposed to reach free agency after the 2023 campaign.
Manager Joe Maddon and GM Perry Minasian both played down the situation, insisting that Ohtani was simply echoing the frustrations shared throughout the club in the midst of the Angels’ sixth consecutive losing season and seventh in a row. missing the playoffs.
The likelihood of Ohtani, 27, and the team agreeing to a long-term extension this winter remains uncertain.
The unprecedented nature of Ohtani’s season – in which he had 45 home runs and 99 RBIs in addition to posting a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts, making him the overwhelming favorite to win the American League MVP title – would make any negotiation complicated, with no real precedent to follow when it comes to the value of his two-way skill set.
Another unknown: How much Ohtani will be able to replicate his production of 2021, in which he has avoided any stint on the injured list and has appeared in 158 of the team’s 162 games.
In his last regular-season video conference with reporters on Sunday, Ohtani instead focused most of his responses on his personal goals for the offseason.
He believes he still has room to improve for next season, especially on the mound – where he has pitched over 130 innings this season after making just two starts in the previous two years, marked by wounds.
Although he said he had not battled fatigue this year, he added that he wanted to increase his weightlifting routine to keep building his strength during the offseason as well. This will be the second winter in a row that he won’t be limited by persistent injuries or rehabilitation after surgery.
And he reiterated that, whatever his long-term future, he hopes he can help the Angels regain their relevance as early as next season.
Times writer Dylan Hernández contributed to this report.
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