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How Mad Would You Be If Shohei Ohtani Re-Signed In Anaheim?

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels in the dugout while playing the Detroit Tigers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 17, 2023 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
John McCoy/Getty Images

Monday's news that Shohei Ohtani allegedly visited Toronto's training facility in Florida tracks exactly with his long-held fascination with indoor-based stationary bicycles. It is also the only breach to date of the itinerary of his fact-finding mission to see where he wants his stuff sent once he decides to relocate.

And let's be clear here: Everyone wants him to relocate, desperately so. Unlike any other rumor mill in modern memory, there is a clear rooting interest in Ohtani and the twin acronyms GTFO (you know already) and ANA (Anywhere But Anaheim). Almost nobody not currently in the employ of Arte Moreno wants Ohtani to remain an Angel because he deserves better.

Well, not quite, actually. He doesn't deserve better so much as he deserves better by his definition, and since neither he nor his management team has supplied any information on what that definition might be, visits to miscellaneous Peloton farms become a big deal on their own, creating stories of how much the Jays want Ohtani (desperately, as it turns out) or why he would want them (he wants a good street-corner condo apartment for the Leafs' Stanley Cup parade because the Ducks are still years away).

And nothing would actively disappoint more people than him deciding to stay right where he is, which is why that is exactly the best place for him. Just to gauge the rage.

The Angels have spent 63 seasons being the not-very-noisy neighbor to the Dodgers, outdrawing them only once, and Ohtani is the reluctant superstar to eclipse Mike Trout the reluctant superstar. The two have inadvertently become the setup and the punchline in the joke that has been the Angels' entire stage act, and baseball knowers have been drooling copious buckets waiting for Ohtani to extract himself from the institutional ennui of Angelhood.

And that's the whole issue: the inert, adhering-to-the-mean, hiding-in-plain-sight Angels. Re-upping would represent in the minds of strangers that Ohtani doesn't "have that dawg" in him, given that in his six years of service the Angels have won only one more game than the Reds and one fewer game than the Diamondbacks, just to name two teams he allegedly isn't interested in visiting. The Angels engender anger in people not because Ohtani is there, but because Ohtani is there. The Angels started this by doing nothing with Mike Trout's years, so this is not merely more of the same, but multiples of the same. The only way it could be worse is if the Angels re-signed Ohtani and then traded for Elly De La Cruz. Every good baseball idea the Angels could ever have is wrong because it's them having the idea.

There is as yet no indication that Ohtani wants to leave any more than there is that he wants to stay. The Blue Jay breach is the first indication that he has even looked anywhere else, and the hook there is in wondering how annoyed his agent and agency will be that the news slipped past the blackout curtain. It would be very on-brand for Ohtani to look at lots of places before staying where he is, because on-brand for him is in leaving no evidence behind. He would be the murderer who is never caught on NCIS: Baseball.

Toward that end, what would be better cover than to remain in place, with the one team noted most for its ability to cast no shadow? Whether the goal here is to be left alone or to mock the hot stove and all its burners, he already owns the perfect uniform.

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