There are many questions for the Angels as they enter what will be a very busy offseason. The makeup of the coaching staff, roster and even ownership come with significant degrees of uncertainty.
There was never a question of if Shohei Ohtani would be on the Angels roster, if the team wanted him there. He was always under team control through 2023. There was, however, the looming possibility of a uniquely interesting arbitration case. Perhaps the most interesting arbitration case of all time.
Ohtani’s talents are without precedent. It stood to reason that his value in arbitration would be, as well. The question was always just how high would Ohtani and his representatives value him compared to the Angels’ valuation.
That question was answered Saturday, when the team announced a one-year deal worth $30 million to avoid any potential arbitration drama. It is the largest payday ever for an arbitration-eligible player, topping Mookie Betts’ $27 million in 2020.
Neither Angels general manager Perry Minasian nor Ohtani were made available to comment on the deal.
It is possible to read through the lines of this deal to understand why it was made when it was, and why the cost was what it was. For as expensive as Ohtani will be in 2023, it’s still a bargain, and sensible for both sides given the alternative.