Shohei Ohtani WON’T move before trade deadline unless Angels get ‘absurd’ offer but he’s interested in joining Braves, Yankees, Dodgers or Mariners

The Los Angeles Angels will hold on to two-way star Shohei Ohtani ahead of the trade deadline unless they receive an offer they can’t refuse, a source confirmed to DailyMail.com. 

The source added that if Ohtani does leave as a free agent, he would consider the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Atlanta Braves, who have quietly emerged as a candidate for the former MVP. 

Ohtani is in the final year of his contract before unrestricted free agency, and the Angels must decide whether to trade their generational superstar for a probable motherlode or risk the possibility of losing him for next to nothing in the winter.

However, it appears the Angels are willing to take that gamble as they go all in on the MLB playoffs. 

The Angels are making a push for the playoffs, going 7-3 in their last 10 games and currently sitting just four games out of the third and final AL wild-card spot.

Two-way star Shohei Ohtani is in the final year of his contract before unrestricted free agency

Two-way star Shohei Ohtani is in the final year of his contract before unrestricted free agency

The LA Angels (pictured owner Arte Moreno) won't trade Ohtani before the MLB deadline

The LA Angels (pictured owner Arte Moreno) won’t trade Ohtani before the MLB deadline

As the Halos close in on an Wild Card spot, a source tells DailyMail.com that unless the franchise receives an ‘absurd’ offer for the two-way star, it will hope to hold on to Ohtani heading into the playoffs in the hope it convinces him to stay. 

‘Unless the most absurd trade option falls into their lap, the Angels are interested and expected in keeping Shohei on the team for the rest of the season,’ a source close to the Angels and Ohtani told DailyMail.com. 

‘The team wants to enjoy the chance of convincing him to sign a new contract to stay with the Angels. They also would love for him to break records in an Angels jersey, especially the home run record, and not allow another team to reap those benefits. 

‘It is very unlikely that Ohtani will be moving teams this season. This will give him the chance to test free agency where he is likely going to be able to sign a long term contract with any team worth over 600 million dollars.’ 

The Angels further signaled their intention to contend for a playoff spot with Ohtani by acquiring right-handers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez from the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.

The Angels traded two of their top minor league prospects – left-hander Ky Bush and catcher Edgar Quero – to the White Sox, who got a solid return for two talented veteran pitchers playing their final season before unrestricted free agency.

Giolito is the centerpiece of the deal for the Halos, who were eager to add an experienced starting pitcher. He is 6-6 with a 3.79 ERA this season in 21 starts for Chicago. His 131 strikeouts are 10th in the AL, and he has limited opponents to a .211 average in his last nine starts.

If the Angels do lose Ohtani to free agency, they could receive a compensatory Draft pick. 

Under the MLB’s process, clubs wishing to receive compensatory Draft picks for the loss of a free agent can make a one-year ‘qualifying offer,’ worth the mean salary of MLB’s 125 highest-paid players, to their impending free agents prior to the onset of free agency if the player has never received a qualifying offer previously in his career and has spent the entire season on that team’s roster. 

The Japanese star will be in huge demand if he does test the waters of free agency as expected and could land a contract worth $500million. 

Lucas Giolito

Reynaldo Lopez

LA signaled its intention to contend with a trade for Lucas Giolito (L) and Reynaldo Lopez (R)

Angels show their love for the Japanese star by urging the franchise to keep him at a game

Angels show their love for the Japanese star by urging the franchise to keep him at a game 

The Yankees, Dodgers and Seattle Mariners were already expected to be suitors for Ohtani in the offseason but the source revealed to DailyMail.com that the Atlanta Braves have also emerged as potential contenders.  

‘Shohei wants to win World Series rings, if he leaves the Angels in free agency at the end of the year, he would be very interested to play with Seattle, and Atlanta and would, of course, give the Dodgers and Yankees a chance to convince him to play with them,’ they said. 

‘Though many feel he is long gone after this season, the Angels still have some leverage in his eyes to keep him, Shohei is a very loyal guy.’ 

Recently, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the New York Yankees are the ‘most motivated’ to trade for Ohtani, while the LA Times’ Jorge Castillo reported that the Dodgers are seen as the favorites to sign him this summer. 

But Seattle fans made an impassioned plea to Ohtani during his at-bat in the All-Star game in the Emerald City earlier this month. 

They chanted, ‘Come to Seattle,’ as he stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the first inning against Zac Gallen in an attempt to lure him to the Mariners. 

‘Never experienced anything like that, but I definitely heard it,’ the two-position star said through his interpreter. ‘But I was trying to focus on my at-bat.’ 

‘Every time I come here the fans are passionate, they’re really into the game. So it’s very impressive,’ Ohtani said. ‘I actually spent a couple offseasons in Seattle. So I like the city. It’s beautiful.’

Ohtani's free agency this offseason was the buzz of the All-Star Game earlier this month

Ohtani’s free agency this offseason was the buzz of the All-Star Game earlier this month 

‘I did talk to him a little bit but nothing specific about him coming to Seattle, just asked him a couple questions,’ Seattle star Julio Rodríguez said. ‘But that was cool. That was a pretty interesting thing to see how the whole city came (together).’

Ohtani is making $30 million this season in his final year of Angels team control. He has been in Anaheim for six seasons since he chose the club for his move from Japan in late 2017, but the Angels have yet to make the postseason or even post a winning record during his tenure alongside Mike Trout.

MLB’s trade deadline is August 1. If the Angels don’t move Ohtani, they could get only a compensatory draft pick if he signs with another team as a free agent.

His agent, Naz Balelo, indicated in February that Ohtani probably will go into free agency to determine his future, rather than signing an extension in 2023.

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