LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Angels are doubling down.
First reported by Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci and later confirmed by Shohei Ohtani himself Thursday, the two-way superstar is staying with the Angels for the rest of the 2023 season.
With that news in mind, the Angels are going all-in for the 2023 postseason push – which also marks the final season of Ohtani's current contract. The Halos entered Thursday morning about four games back of the Toronto Blue Jays in the third and last AL wild card spot.
It has been well documented heading into the 2023 MLB season that winning is a top priority for Ohtani. Should the Angels fail to pull off a late-season comeback and capture a spot in the postseason this October, Ohtani and fellow superstar Mike Trout will miss the playoffs once again, likely eliminating Anaheim as Ohtani's destination for the 2024 season (and beyond).
Elsewhere in the MLB insiders circle, MLB Network's Jon Heyman previously gave the Angels a 25% chance the team trades Ohtani by the Aug. 1 deadline.
For what it's worth, Heyman added in the July 17 interview that there's no shot the Los Angeles Dodgers land Ohtani before the end of the 2023 season.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Angels not trading Shohei Ohtani to Dodgers, MLB Network reports
Heyman, who has made a name for himself in the MLB circles as a longtime baseball columnist and insider, became a meme on social media prior to the 2023 MLB season after he broke a story on his professional Twitter account that "Arson Judge" was heading to the San Francisco Giants. Contrary to Heyman's report, Aaron Judge ended up staying with the New York Yankees.
Ohtani has been the center of free agency and trade speculations as the Japanese two-way star will become a free agent at the end of the 2023 MLB season. Earlier in the spring, MLB insider and ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that the Boys in Blue are named among top contenders for the 2023 World Baseball Classic MVP. Passan also mentioned the New York Mets, Yankees, Giants and the Mariners pushing to sign Ohtani in the following offseason.