A shocking turn of events for Shohei Ohtani (29-LA Angels). After rewriting world baseball history with his flawless “Idoryu” performance, Ohtani’s future as a pitcher has become unclear. However, it has been hypothesized that the competition for his services will only intensify as he is eligible for free agency after this season.
Ohtani started the first game of the 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, U.S., on Sept. 24 (local time) as a pitcher and designated hitter before suffering elbow pain during his second pitch.
After the game, MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, reported, “Ohtani was confirmed to have a torn medial collateral ligament in his right elbow. He will not be able to pitch again this season.”
‘Tutani 3’ takes a break from injury trauma to play manga baseball with ‘Perfect Idoryu’… ‘Tutani’s’ future is unclear
After showing promise in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), Ohtani donned an Angels uniform in 2018 with high hopes.
In his first year as a hitter, he hit .285 with 22 home runs in 114 games, but it was a different story for “Idoryu.” In June of that year, an injury ended his season after just 10 games. After the season, he underwent Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow ligaments. The following year, he continued to play as a hitter but took a break from pitching.
He returned to the mound in July 2020, but after just two games, he suffered a right flexor/peroneus muscle strain that ended his season early.
With hopes fading for Idoryu, Ohtani shocked the MLB in 2021. In 23 games as a pitcher, he went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA, and as a hitter, he was unanimously named the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) after batting .257 with 46 home runs and 100 RBIs.
Last year, Ohtani struggled a bit as a hitter, batting .273 with 34 home runs and 95 RBIs, but he was one of the best pitchers in the big leagues, going 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA.
This season, he’s taken another step forward. In 22 games as a pitcher, he already has 10 wins (five complete games) and a 3.17 ERA. At the same time, he had a monster season as a hitter, batting .304 with 44 home runs and 91 RBIs in 126 games.
The AL MVP was booked early and expectations were high for how many home runs he could hit, but then came the shocking injury.
As MLB.com’s Will Leach put it, “It’s possible he’ll get a second Tommy John surgery. That’s the worst possible ending.” “You have to lower your expectations for a pitcher. The success rate for pitchers undergoing a second Tommy John surgery is not very high.”
He quoted surgeon Robert Keller in the Washington Post a few years ago as saying, “With one surgery, there’s a chance he’ll come back, but with a second, he may not, and he may not be able to throw as many pitches or as long as he used to.” “We may see him back on the mound, but it may be wise to lower expectations.”
Free agent 10-year ‘$500M to $250M’ deal expected to halve, competition more intense?
MLB.com presented a new scenario for Ohtani’s future. “It’s one thing to sign a player who can only play designated hitter, but it’s quite another to sign a player who can only play designated hitter to a big contract.” In any case, the injury will inevitably reduce his value.
Ironically, this could lead to even more competition for his services. There’s been talk that Ohtani could sign a massive 10-year, $500 million contract if he finishes this season as he is.
As such, there are only a handful of clubs that could be his next destination. There are only a few teams that can afford to pay that kind of money.
Ohtani watches the game with a grim expression on his face. /AFPBBNews=News1
However, the situation is likely to change quickly. MLB.com reports, “But that number is now expected to shrink. “Not every team can afford to pay $500 million over 10 years, but $250 or $300 million seems reasonable, given the marketing opportunities he would bring,” said MLB.com. Even if he’s not pitching, they’ll want to utilize him.”
There’s also another scenario. The Angels, who looked like they were going to let Ohtani walk, are now more likely to keep him.
“Ohtani will want to resume pitching at some point, even if he has surgery, and Anaheim is a stable and familiar place for him to rehab after surgery,” MLB.com wrote, “and he’s already been there once. This could keep Ohtani in their price range. The Angels want Ohtani as badly as any other team. This could open the door a little bit.”메이저사이트
While Ohtani’s injury seemed like the worst thing that could have happened to him, some people seem to be smiling. MLB.com adds that the Angels’ decision not to trade Ohtani has come back to haunt them, as they will likely keep him.