Is the ‘Otani Mystery’ team a bunch of idiots… Why do they play when their ransom keeps dropping?
For Major League fans, August 24, 2023 (Korean time) was a somewhat gloomy day. This is because of the news that Shohei Ohtani (29, LA Angels)바카라사이트, who is creating a new era in modern baseball with the absurd feat of both pitching and batting, suffered a ruptured elbow ligament.
Ohtani, who started in the first game of the doubleheader against Cincinnati on this day, did not show good velocity from the beginning of the game, and eventually gestured toward the dugout while pitching in the second inning. Ohtani, who left the mound after consulting with the coaching staff, was ultimately diagnosed with damage to his elbow ligaments during the post-game examination. The Angels immediately announced officially, “Ohtani will not pitch as a pitcher for the remainder of the season.”
Ohtani underwent elbow surgery in 2018, shortly after his entry into the major leagues. After 5 years, a problem with the elbow ligaments was discovered again. The Angels are refraining from making specific comments, but the local media is spreading the word that the damaged area this time is different from the first surgery area. In other words, a second surgery is inevitable.
However, Ohtani continues to attend games. Even on the 24th, the day he was injured, he appeared as a batter in the second game of the double header. Ohtani throws a right hand but hits it with his left. So his right elbow injury doesn’t really hinder his batting. Ohtani has been quietly contributing to the team as a hitter even after his injury. Although his season as a pitcher is over, he continues to rack up records as a hitter.
Ohtani’s batting performance this year is the best since entering the major leagues. As of the 1st (Korean time), he has a batting average of 0.307, 44 home runs, 95 RBI, 19 stolen bases, and OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 1,071 in 132 games this season. In 2021, when he was named the American League’s unanimous Most Valuable Player (MVP), he recorded 46 home runs, 100 RBI, and an OPS of 0.964, and is on track to surpass his pace at the time.
His batting average in the last 7 games, which can be said to be before and after his elbow injury, is also showing good performance, with an on-base percentage of 0.471 and a slugging percentage of 0.556. He only has no home runs, but the rest of his records are normal. However, some are pointing out that Ohtani’s trip is ‘meaningless’ to the player personally. He argues that it is beneficial to not run more.
First of all, the team’s chances of advancing to the postseason have dropped significantly. Until the end of July, the Angels’ possibility of advancing to the postseason was still alive, and this led to the Angels signing several players ahead of the trade deadline. However, the Angels, who have not been able to use their strength since then, remain at 64 wins and 70 losses (.478) as of the 1st.
The gap with Seattle, the leader in the district, is 12.5 games. A reversal is virtually impossible. They are also 11.5 games behind in the wild card race. Considering the remaining games (28 games), a comeback cannot be guaranteed even if the team wins 20 or more games. Recognizing this, the Angels also recently acknowledged the reality by waiving several players, including Lucas Giolito. The club also essentially gave up on the postseason.
Even if Ohtani ends the season here, he is certain to win MVP for the second time in his career. According to ‘Baseball Reference’, Ohtani’s win contribution compared to substitutes (WAR), including pitches and hits, reaches 10.0. There is no player in the league that can match him. In addition, Ohtani will become a free agent (FA) at the end of this season. If the team is competing fiercely to advance to the postseason, it is natural for hitters to contribute, but that is not the case now. It was time to think about his own safety as well.
The longer you keep running, the more you lose financially. Ohtani is tight-lipped about whether he will undergo elbow surgery. He has never publicly expressed his thoughts. However, if he wants to continue to pitch and hit, he will have to have elbow surgery. Even if he only plays as a hitter, he is required to throw. This is because the value of Ohtani, who only plays as a designated hitter, is bound to fall.
If surgery is performed after the season is over, it will be difficult to make it to the start of next year. Even if you only play as a hitter, it will take about four months for rehabilitation. In fact, after having elbow surgery in 2018, Ohtani was unable to meet the 2019 opening schedule and returned only after that. If he undergoes surgery now, he will likely be able to pitch in 2025, but if he undergoes surgery after the season, his return as a pitcher will be delayed that much. There is no way it will have a positive impact in the free agent market. The sooner you undergo surgery, the better. When looking at long-term contracts of more than 10 years, the difference in total value may be tens of millions of dollars.
Nevertheless, Ohtani is quietly participating in the game. He wouldn’t be greatly criticized if he undergoes surgery, as his chances of staying with the Angels are low anyway, but he is reducing his own value in order to support his team until the end. Accordingly, there are predictions locally that Ohtani will suspend the season and discuss what happens next when the Angels’ chances of advancing to the postseason are mathematically gone.