Will Angels keep Shohei Ohtani for rest of season? ‘It’s pretty self-explanatory’

Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani walks to the plate.
Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani walks to the plate to face Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw in the fourth inning at Angel Stadium on Tuesday.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

It wasn’t a yes or no, but more of a matter-of-fact answer.

The Angels entered their game Tuesday against the Dodgers with a 41-33 record, good for second place in the American League West and in position for a wild-card spot.

So when Angels general manager Perry Minasian was asked before the Freeway Series game whether he felt strongly about declaring that two-way star Shohei Ohtani would not be traded this season, Minasian said, “I think it’s pretty self-explanatory with where we’re at [in the standings].”

Ohtani, who could be on his way to his second AL most-valuable-player award, has been a key part of the Angels’ success.


The two-way star leads the majors with 24 home runs, 58 RBIs and a 1.002 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and is ninth in the AL with a .295 batting average.

Clayton Kershaw pitches seven masterful innings, then Ferguson and Phillips close things out as Dodgers win opener of two-game set.

June 20, 2023

In 14 starts on the mound, Ohtani leads the majors in opponent’s batting average (.178), has the sixth-most strikeouts (105) and ninth-best walks-plus-hits per inning pitched (1.05) while going 6-2.

Last week, Ohtani became the first player since Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle in 1957 to have two or more doubles, six or more homers and 10 or more walks in a seven-game span. He won his fifth AL player of the week award.

Minasian’s comments Tuesday are similar to those of Angels owner Arte Moreno during spring training when he said that the club would not trade Ohtani while the team is in playoff contention.

There could be more to it than just playing to win with Ohtani. The Times’ Dylan Hernández reported this month that the Angels believe if they did trade Ohtani, it would hurt their chances of re-signing him in the offseason.

Ohtani, who began his major league career in 2018, can become a free agent after the season. The Angels have not made the playoffs since 2014. The trade deadline is Aug. 1. Ohtani has not revealed his intentions, stating that he is an Angel this year and wants to win.

Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani flies out in his first at-bat against the Dodgers.
Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) flies out in his first at-bat against the Dodgers at Angel Stadium on Tuesday.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Despite the Angels playing better than they did the first month and a half, their depth is being tested again. Recent significant injuries to shortstop Zach Neto (oblique strain) and infielder Gio Urshela (pelvis fracture), and an unknown timeline for the return of injured third baseman Anthony Rendon (wrist contusion), have left their infield in flux. To offset the absences, the Angels called up three players from triple A: shortstop Andrew Velazquez and infielders Michael Stefanic and Kevin Padlo.

The bullpen also has suffered injuries. Ben Joyce was added to the injured list June 10 with ulnar neuritis. Joyce said Tuesday that his symptoms are mostly gone.

For the Angels to make the most of Ohtani’s time, and the efforts of all the players, overcoming injuries will be just a part of the balance. The trade deadline still could be crucial for the Angels one way or another.

When asked what the Angels need, Minasian said “everything.”

“Trade deadlines are tough,” Minasian said. “We have a long way to that too, right? We need to continue to play well. You always want to add to a rotation, you always want to add to a bullpen, always add more offense, always add more defense. So, all areas.”

The Freeway Series, which resumes Tuesday in Anaheim, has its appeal to fans, but for the players and managers it’s not like playing a division rival.

June 19, 2023

Angels vs. Dodgers

Reid Detmers put on a pitching clinic against the Dodgers. Detmers kept them scoreless over seven innings, giving up just two hits, one walk and striking out eight in 98 pitches.


It was Detmers’ best and longest start this season, but ultimately was wasted as he received no run support and the Angels lost 2-0.