Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after the 2023 season, and he said he has not discussed a potential extension with the team yet, per Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com.
"I really like the team, I love the fans and the atmosphere as a team," he said. "But more than that, I want to win. That's the biggest thing for me. I'll leave it at that."
It's not too difficult to read between the lines with that statement, and that could be a worrisome thing for Angels fans.
After all, Ohtani has been with the American League West team since the 2018 campaign and has yet to enjoy a winning season or make the playoffs. It is a similar situation with Mike Trout, who has starred for Los Angeles for so long but has played in just one postseason series.
Ohtani has certainly not been the problem this season for the 74-82 Angels, who have been eliminated from playoff contention and sit in fourth place in the division.
He is slashing .258/.371/.595 with 45 home runs, 98 RBI and 24 stolen bases as a hitter while anchoring the pitching staff with a 3.18 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 156 strikeouts in 130.1 innings.
The offensive numbers would be impressive on their own if he was just a hitter, and the same can be said about his pitching totals. The league hasn't seen someone be so dominant in both ways since the legendary Babe Ruth, and Ohtani is just 27 years old.
He is the type of player who can turn around the fortunes for the franchise if he remains healthy and eventually signs a long-term extension.
Those discussions haven't happened yet, and it is clear he prioritizes winning given his comments, but it would behoove the Angels to make sure he remains with the only Major League Baseball team he has ever known.