Fallen Angel: How Los Angeles Completely Wasted Shoei Ohtani

Darren - August 4, 2023

Fallen Angel: How Los Angeles Completely Wasted Shoei Ohtani

Darren - August 4, 2023

Shohei Ohtani is without a doubt the best baseball player on the planet right now. The Japanese superstar is shattering records and showing that he’s one of the greatest all-around talents in MLB history. But the reality is that he may never experience a playoff series with his current team. That’s because the Los Angeles Angels have wasted his talent and it’s a crying shame.

Today we’ll look at all the ways the Angels have mishandled Ohtani and his teammate Mike Trout. Somehow, they have baseball’s top athletes but still can’t make the postseason. No wonder their fans hate owner Arte Moreno and want him to leave. Check out all the shocking ways they’ve wasted Ohtani here.


Move Over Babe Ruth

Ohtani breaks records and one of his most jaw-dropping saw him pass Babe Ruth for the most home runs by a player who is also a starting pitcher in a single month. He achieved this remarkable feat in June 2023 when he smashed Kendall Graveman’s fastball for his 14th homer of the month.


It was a magnificent feat and shows his level of talent. But somehow the Angels still don’t know how to build a roster around him. It’s too bad Ohtani only has individual accolades because the Angels won’t compete anytime soon (via Sports Illustrated).


Horrific Playoff Record

The Angels haven’t reached the playoffs since 2014. They lost the first series of Mike Trout’s single trip to the postseason. But we have to go back to 2009 to find the last time they won a playoff game. It’s a shocking run that shows why they’re one of the most disastrous Major League franchises today.

The Comeback

Their long-suffering fans hoped that Ohtani’s addition would change their fortunes. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened because baseball needs a balanced roster to win. Ohtani provides brilliant individual moments and shows why he’s a perennial MVP contender. But he can’t drag them to the promised land by himself (via Orange County Register).

The Athletic

Genuine Superstar

Baseball was once America’s past time and produced icons like Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays. But these days the sport doesn’t have many stars. Mike Trout was the best player for 10 years but most Americans wouldn’t recognize him if they saw him.


Compare this to Lebron James or Patrick Mahomes. But in Ohtani, the Angels have one of the league’s two genuine superstars.  Everybody knows Aaron Judge but they also know the Japanese star. Meanwhile, he’s a legend in the Far East with many Asian fans traveling to L.A. because they want to see him play (via AP News).

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Time To Trade Ohtani

Let’s be real: the Angels made a massive mistake in 2023. They should have traded Ohtani before their window of opportunity closed but they made a weak decision. They could have acknowledged that they wasted his potential and it was time to rebuild. This would give the Japanese star a run at the World Series with a contender.

L.A. Times

Meanwhile, the Angels had the opportunity to reinvest in their roster. But they decided to hang onto him and traded two exciting prospects for veterans because they believed they could still make a playoff run. In August 2023, Fox Sports said that the Angels had a 23 percent shot of making the postseason. Does anybody believe that will happen?

Larry Brown Sports

The Trout Factor

It’s not all about Ohtani in L.A. because they have another bonafide superstar in Mike Trout. He was MLB’s top player for the best part of a decade before Ohtani and Aaron Judge broke out. Astonishingly, Trout has only played in a single postseason series and that came to a miserable end. It’s a travesty because the Angels have two of MLB’s three best players but can’t win.

AP Photo

Maybe this three-time AL MVP deserves some criticism because he seems happy to accept mega contracts instead of winning. The nine-time Silver Slugger Award winner could also do more to raise his profile because most Americans don’t know his face. Nonetheless, there’s no denying that the Angels have wasted both him and Ohtani (via FanNation).


Five Years of Waste

It’s been five years since Ohtani landed in LAX after lighting up the NPB Pacific League. Japanese fans knew that MLB had a future superstar on its hands after his performances for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Ohtani proved this when he exploded to life in 2021 (via France 24).


Ohtani completed his side of the deal but the Angels haven’t lived up to expectations. Maybe we should have expected them to fail because they have a long history of losing with just a single World Series title. It’s tough to envisage them doing anything positive shortly. There’s little hope for Angels fans now because they’re a disaster.

Lucas Peltier

Massive Payroll

Nobody can say that the Angels don’t spend money. After all, they handed Mike Trout a fat $400 million extension that made him one of the highest-paid athletes in the U.S. The problem is that they’ve spent over a billion dollars but haven’t used it wisely. It’s like handing a child money to go grocery shopping and they spend it all on candy.

CBS Sports

The front office has made roster and coaching changes in vain. They’ve also handed out dumb contracts to past-their-prime players with big reputations like Anthony Rendon. It’s a garbage pile and there are no signs that things are going to get better. They’ve failed Ohtani and the entire fanbase too (via Max Sporting Studio).

The Athletic

Losing Culture

Few franchises have a losing culture like the Angels. It’s amazing because they also have one of MLB’s highest payrolls but that arguably holds them back. Their big players take up massive chunks of their payroll and this stops them from rebuilding their roster. Mike Trout went on a career-low 0-for-26 streak in 2022 as they hit a 12-game losing streak.


This was also bad news for Ohtani who was showing his MVP credentials again. But his teammate wasn’t performing at his peak while the Angels wallowed in mediocracy. But there was nothing that he could do except keep doing his best. Ohtani is a consummate professional and may win a World Series one day. But it won’t be with the Angels (via Front Office Sports).

Los Angeles Times


Another issue is that the Angels over-rely on their elite stars, Ohtani and Trout. This became obvious in 2023 after the latter suffered a fractured wrist. Then to make matters worse, third baseman Anthony Rendon also endured injuries. This left the team without depth and poured pressure on Ohtani to continue his elite form.

Los Angeles Times

To be fair to the Japanese icon, he didn’t take a step back as he outlined his MVP credentials. But one player can’t drag a baseball team to glory like in football or basketball. Unfortunately, this is the definition of a team sport and when one of Trout or Ohtani doesn’t play, the Angels’ chances drop rapidly (via The Guardian).


Dodgers Glory

The Angels had a huge opportunity to become the biggest franchise in the region. But the Dodgers came along and casually won the World Series in 2020. They defeated the Rays to claim their seventh title. The Angels don’t even make the playoffs despite having two recent AL MVPs on their roster.


It’s baffling that they’re so consistently bad and we almost admire them for it. The Dodgers showed the world everything that’s wrong with the Angels and their business model. But they still haven’t learned from their mistakes (via L.A. Times).

New York Times

Weak Leadership

The Angels showed their weakness in 2023 when they held onto Ohtani. He’s going to enter free agency in 2024 and will walk away with his head held high. Everybody knows that L.A. made a mistake because they could have secured their future. But they didn’t want to be the front office that traded Ohtani.


It’s reached the stage where even their diehard fans want the franchise to set Ohtani free. But they want to pretend that they’re still contenders and think that they’re fooling everyone. The reality is that they’re putting off the inevitable without a lucrative return. It was a garbage decision but we expect nothing less from them (via Forbes).


True Two-Way Talent

We already spoke about how Ohtani broke Babe Ruth’s longstanding record in 2023. The Japanese is a genuine two-way talent the likes of which fans have never seen before. It didn’t seem possible that somebody could produce this way in the modern era. Usually, athletes must focus on one discipline to become even half-decent at it.

Sports Illustrated

But Ohtani is making a mockery of this with his outstanding displays. Ohtani became the first player ever to have an eight-RBI game as a hitter and a 13-strikeout game as a pitcher. This would be like if an NFL player threw four touchdown passes and got multiple quarterback sacks in the same game. It shouldn’t happen but Ohtani is special (via Sports Illustrated).


Record Breaker

Ohtani’s list of records is seemingly endless. In one game against the Brewers, he set the record for the highest home run. In another against the White Sox, he became the first player to strike out 10 batters and hit two home runs since 1963 (via AS).


The Angels effectively have two elite players in one package but haven’t taken full advantage of this. He keeps overproducing but they don’t deliver on their side. It’s a shame that they can have a player who’s so good but never make the playoffs. Unfortunately, it may be too late for the franchise and its superstar.


Damaging Baseball

The Angels won’t care about this because it’s not their problem. But they’re damaging baseball by holding back Trout and Ohtani. Imagine how exciting it would be to see this brilliant duo making a playoff run. It’s safe to say that would attract the nation’s attention amid falling viewership.


Baseball is suffering a major decline in popularity compared to the NBA or NFL. Some moments give the sport an injection of adrenaline like Aaron Judge’s home run glory. However, this is a major missed opportunity for MLB and it’s frustrating to see it happen (via Millenial Magazine).

L.A. Times

The Real MVP

Aaron Judge was always going to win the AL MVP award in 2022 after he broke Roger Maris’ record. His 62 homers were enough to prevent Ohtani from claiming consecutive awards. The Japanese won the prize for the first time in 2021 in his breakout year. He didn’t slow down the following season either and many fans thought he deserved it again.


Meanwhile, in 2023, he demonstrated why we should rename the award after him. He made massive strides as a pitcher as he proved that he’s equally dangerous in both facets of his game. There’s a reason why the Dodgers, Mets, and Giants are licking their lips about his upcoming free agency (via Fox Sports).


Ohtani’s Legacy

Another major problem is that this affects Ohtani’s legacy. It’s ridiculous but people will judge the Japanese star because of his lack of World Series success. There’s no denying that he’ll make it to Cooperstown but it will be much easier for fans to forget him. Short-term memories are very common and it will become fashionable to downplay his success.

San Diego Union-Tribune

The Angels have a responsibility to bring him to the next level and help him to become a contender. But they’re full of empty promises and false dawns. It’s a shame and hopefully he doesn’t have too many regrets when he retires. He will have many individual accolades but not the team glory he craves (via InsideHook).


World Baseball Classic

Sadly and shockingly, the only time baseball fans saw Ohtani and Trout together in a meaningful game was at the World Baseball Classic in 2023. This time the pair were rivals as they proudly represented their nations on the international stage. Ohtani defeated Trout’s Team USA as Japan pulled off a dramatic victory.


The Japanese hero struck out his teammate in a sensational fairytale ending. Furthermore, the world saw Ohtani’s star power because he received louder cheers than any US player in Miami’s LoanDepot Park. This was a glimpse of what Angels fans could enjoy if their front office handled the team properly (via The Guardian).


Desire to Win

Many fans and analysts question the Angels’ desire to win the World Series. Mike Trout also attracted criticism when he signed a new contract with the franchise. They said that he showed a lack of ambition and was part of the problem in L.A. The Angels had an opportunity to trade their star and rebuild the team.

L.A. Times

Sometimes it’s necessary to take a big step back to take multiple steps forward. That’s why all eyes were on Ohtani in 2023. The Japanese star made no secret of his desire to win and gave the team a final chance. However, nobody now trusts Arte Moreno’s motivations or the front office’s business acumen (via Sportskeeda).

Sports Illustrated

Poor Roster Construction

The Angels’ front office couldn’t build a roster to save their lives. They make first-round picks with the logic of a drunk man flinging darts at a board. We must go back to 2009 when they last made a brilliant selection. Mike Trout was a hit but since then it’s been one disaster after another (via Pitcher List).


Meanwhile, we could write all day about their free agents and trades. Over the years, they’ve gone all-in on big names like Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols. But there are two problems with this approach and it’s held them back. First, the stars underperform or they hit their salary cap hard and this holds them back.


No Support

Ohtani can have a brilliant record-breaking performance but the Angels still find ways to show they’re inept. They failed to provide him with the support he needs to close out games and beat opponents. For example, the Halos lost against the Royals in 2022 after Ohtani drove them to extras.

Los Angeles Times

He went three-for-four with a dazzling display but this didn’t inspire his teammates. They went seven for 37 at the plate and showed why he can’t do it by himself. This is a small sample of the uphill struggle Ohtani faces in L.A. every week. He deserves better, and hopefully one day he’ll achieve it (via Fansided).

Money INC

Empty Promises

There’s a good reason why Arte Moreno is one of the least-popular Major League owners right now. The man is full of empty promises and fails to deliver when it looks impossible to fail. Los Angeles had so much potential as he poured money into the team. But there was no vision behind the crazy spending.

Sports Illustrated

Then he went full General Custer by going all-in on Ohtani in 2023. He knew that the Japanese star could walk away as a free agent after the summer. It left the team with a massive and potentially generation-defining choice. However, nobody trusts Moreno to do the right thing because he never does (via Belly Up Sports).