Latest on Mets target Shohei Ohtani: Mike Trout says Angels must make playoffs 'if we want to keep Shohei'
Here is the latest rumors and buzz surrounding Mets target Shohei Ohtani...
Feb. 27, 6:10 p.m.
Shohei Ohtani's future with the Los Angeles Angles is riding on the team making the playoffs this season, Mike Trout tells Jon Heyman of the New York Post.
In an interview with Heyman on Monday, Trout said "this is the year for sure" to break their postseason drought, before adding that it "has got to be the year... it's got to be."
“Especially if we want to keep Shohei,” Trout said. “We win and get to the playoffs, he’d think about it a little bit more.”
The Angels have a 57.6 percent chance to make the postseason as of Monday's PECOTA projections from Baseball Prospectus, but they only have a 37.4 percent chance according to FanGraphs.
Of course, even if they beat the odds, many around baseball believe Ohtani is headed for free agency this offseason.
The Angels have not had a winning season since 2015, and outside of Trout, there is not much talent on the big league roster. On top of that, they have one of the worst farm systems in baseball.
If the season starts poorly, they could be faced with a decision: deal their two-way star before the trade deadline or risk losing him for nothing but a draft pick if he leaves in free agency. And nobody expects Angles owner Artie Morone to strike a deal with Ohtani on an extension during the season, like San Diego just did with Manny Machado.
If the 28-year-old phenom ends up on the open market, the Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to be two of the most obvious landing spots.
Feb. 21, 12:30 p.m.
As many assume, Los Angeles Angles superstar Shohei Ohtani appears headed for free agency this offseason.
Ohtani's agent, Nez Balelo from CAA Sports, hinted to reporters on Monday afternoon that his client will probably test the open market this offseason, according to ESPN.
“Shohei's earned the right to play through the year, explore free agency, and we'll see where it shakes out,” Balelo said.
He added that Ohtani has “always been open” to negotiating a contract extension with the organization. He wouldn't comment on the status of talks, but Ohtani recently indicated that they haven't been "deep."
Ohtani also danced around questions about whether or not he wanted to return, saying "as of now I'm an Angel, and that's all I want to focus on."
Balelo kept that stance, saying that for right now, Ohtani is just taking things day-by-day.
“Shohei's been here five years, now this is his final year. Now we have free agency, so of course there's gonna be a lot of questions, what does he wanna do, where's he gonna go, all of it. And I've said this so many times and Shohei has said it as well -- we really take it day by day, one day at a time.”
Feb. 16, 11:58 a.m.
Pending free agent and possible Mets target Shohei Ohtani had a news availability at Los Angeles Angels camp in front of dozens of local and national reporters to discuss his future.
While the 28-year-old danced around whether or not he wanted to return, saying "as of now I'm an Angel and that's all I want to focus on," he did shed some light on the state of negotiations with Los Angeles.
Ohtani noted that he hasn't had any "deep" conversations with the team about his future there.
Feb. 15, 12:46 p.m.
Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout told reporters on Wednesday that he's intent on keeping pending free agent and possible Mets target Shohei Ohtani with the Angels.
"I’m going to do everything I can to keep Shohei (Ohtani) here," Trout said.
Angels owner Arte Moreno, who has abandoned his plan to sell the team, recently reiterated his desire to keep Ohtani.
"I’d like to keep Ohtani," Moreno told Jon Heyman of The New York Post. "He’s one of a kind, He’s a great person. He’s obviously one of the most popular baseball players in the world, and he’s an international star. He’s a great teammate. He works hard. He’s a funny guy, and he has a really good rapport with fans."
Added Moreno about signing Ohtani: "I’d like to say we have as good a chance as anybody."