The week before the 2023 MLB All-Star Game has been the week from hell for the Los Angeles Angels. Mike Trout suffered an injury Monday that is expected to keep him off the field until August. One day later, Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon left the Angels' game prematurely with ailments of their own. The Angels have fallen further out of the playoff race with six losses in seven contests, forcing the organization to face some difficult decisions this summer.
The Angels' hopes of finally reaching the playoffs with Mike Trout and Ohtani on the roster are dwindling. Ohtani took the loss Tuesday after falling victim to a blister on his pitching hand, dropping Los Angeles to 45-43. The Angels are seven games out of first place in the AL West. They trail the New York Yankees by four games for the third and final AL wild-card berth.
With Trout done for several weeks and Ohtani and Rendon potentially set to miss time, it won't be a surprise if Los Angeles is much further down the standings when the 2023 MLB trade deadline arrives. What does this mean for the rest of the Angels' season?
Let's take a look at three tough decisions Los Angeles must make after Trout's injury.
Angels should not trade Shohei Ohtani
The questions about whether or not the Angels will trade Ohtani before the 2023 trade deadline are only going to get louder with Trout on the mend and Los Angeles falling down the standings. Ohtani is headed for free agency, where he could command a $500 million contract. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants might outbid the Angels. Even if the Angels make the biggest offer, Ohtani could head elsewhere to increase his chances of winning a championship.
If the Angels appear unlikely to make the playoffs, the organization might be tempted to trade Ohtani to avoid losing him for nothing in the offseason. It's a temptation that Los Angeles must wholeheartedly reject.
The Angels should only trade Ohtani if he makes it clear that he plans to sign with another team in free agency. Despite Los Angeles' playoff drought, the team seemingly has a strong chance to re-sign Ohtani and make him an Angel for life, just as the team did with Trout. When you have the modern-day version of Babe Ruth, trading him for what could be pennies on the dollar would be organizational malpractice.
Because Ohtani could be a two-month rental, the Angels won't get anything close to equal value for the likely 2023 AL MVP. Los Angeles is still in striking distance of the playoffs. It should be doing everything in its power to make sure Ohtani plays meaningful October baseball in an Angels uniform.