“Ohtani, where did you go, I don’t know (where he went).”
Brett Phillips, 29, walks into his locker shortly after the Los Angeles Angels’ 2-11 loss to the Detroit Tigers and is confused. His teammate Shohei Ohtani’s (29) locker was empty. It was a disconcerting sight, especially since the season wasn’t over yet.
MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, broke the shocking news on the 16th (Japan time) that “Ohtani’s locker was cleaned out, and the Angels said they had nothing to announce until the 17th.”
Ohtani did not appear on the field that day, missing his 11th consecutive game after a road game against the Oakland Athletics on Aug. 4. This was due to an elbow injury he suffered in the first game of a doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds on August 24. After just 1⅓ innings, Ohtani was pulled from the game with elbow pain and later that day was diagnosed with a torn medial collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow, ending his season as a pitcher. To make matters worse, a right oblique injury in early September also ended his time as a hitter.
A second elbow ligament reconstruction (Tommy John surgery) after 2018 seemed likely, but frustration ensued when his agent, Nez Valero, raised the possibility of avoiding surgery, saying it was not the same elbow ligament he had injured in the past. Then came the moment when Ohtani emptied his locker. Japanese outlet Full Count reported, “After the game, Ohtani’s locker was empty of bats, spikes, and other equipment. The 20 or so Japanese and American reporters were in a frenzy as if the season was over,” according to Full Count.
Emptying out your locker in the middle of the season can only happen when you’re either sent down to the minors or not traveling with the team, and in Ohtani’s case, it’s safe to assume the latter. With the Angels out of contention for the postseason and 14 games remaining in the regular season, it’s likely that a decision has been made regarding Ohtani’s future. The most likely scenario at this point is a season-ending Tommy John surgery.
If that happens, Ohtani will finish the year with a .304 batting average, 44 home runs, 95 RBI, 102 runs scored, 20 doubles, a .412 on-base percentage, a .654 slugging percentage, and a 1.066 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) in 135 games as a hitter and a 10-5 record with a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts in 132 innings as a pitcher. He still leads the American League in home runs, is tied for fourth in RBIs, fourth in batting average, and second in OPS, making him a favorite to win his second career MVP award.먹튀검증
The same cannot be said for the Los Angeles Angels. Since joining the team in 2018, Ohtani has developed into a superstar for the Angels, but the team’s record hasn’t reflected that.
After winning Rookie of the Year in 2018, Ohtani hit his stride in 2021, winning both the MVP and Silver Slugger in a two-hitter. In 2022, he was close to perfection, finishing second in MVP and fourth in the Cy Young Award, and was on track for a breakout season this year.
The Angels, on the other hand, could not fulfill Ohtani’s desire to win, as their best finish since 2018 was third place in the American League (2022), far from winning a division, let alone the postseason. As a result, the general consensus is that Ohtani, who is a free agent after this season, will leave.