Okay, it is not really SF Giants news currently, but I rarely get a chance to write about other players and teams during the season. The Los Angeles Angels announced that they have placed Shohei Ohtani (oblique) on the injured list, shutting him down for the remainder of the season.
SF Giants News: Angels shut down Shohei Ohtani for remainder of season
There was a bit of intrigue on Friday when it was announced that Ohtani had cleared out most of his belongings from his locker. Usually, when something like that happens, it is a sign that a player is out for the season.
The Angels waited until Saturday to make an announcement when they confirmed that Ohtani had been placed on the injured list. The two-way star has been out since the start of September, so this move solidifies that he is done with less than 15 games to go in the season.
Ohtani sustained a UCL tear in his pitching elbow earlier this season and he has not pitched since then. Sam Blum of The Athletic relays that there is an expectation for the 29-year-old to undergo a surgical procedure this offseason. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018, but there is no word yet if he will undergo a similar procedure this time around.
Even if he is unable to pitch next season, Ohtani is a very productive hitter. That said, it is possible and likely that Ohtani has taken his last at-bat in an Angels uniform as he is slated to hit free agency this winter as one of the most unique cases in baseball history given his performance both on the mound and at the plate.
Ohtani finishes an incredible season in which he posted a 1.066 OPS with 44 home runs in 599 plate appearances for Los Angeles. He also posted a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts while earning his third All-Star nod.
Of course, there are a handful of teams who are expected to be in on the former MVP. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, and the Giants to name a few. The Dodgers have seemingly been preparing for this for well over a season.
The Giants will begin the season with approximately $130 million committed against the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) in 2024. That number is likely understated by $8 million as they have an easy decision to make on veteran pitcher Alex Cobb. These numbers do not include raises through arbitration. Next year's CBT threshold is set at $237 million, so the Giants will have plenty of spending power.
Though, it takes more than finances to land a star like Ohtani and the Giants have not landed a star like that since Barry Bonds in 1992. It would be very interesting to hear the front office talk about how they will plan this pursuit differently given the lack of success in free agency spanning decades.
Before they even get to that point, it is important for them to finish the year on a high note to show that they can be in the playoff picture. Incredibly, Ohtani has not been to the playoffs and the sense is that he wants to join a competitive team.