The Angels appear to be mishandling their star players. It's so shocking to see. It makes a St. Louis Cardinal fan feel better about their situation going into this offseason.
On Friday, Shohei Ohtani appeared to have packed up his locker and moved out as he was placed on the injured list for an oblique injury. An MRI Friday revealed an oblique irritation connected to a batting practice swing on Sept. 4. Ohtani also tore his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on Aug. 23. According to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com, Angels general manager Perry Minasian said on Saturday that he doesn’t know if Ohtani will undergo his second Tommy John surgery or a different operation.
After this season, Ohtani becomes a free agent and is expected to land a massive contract even with the expected recovery time from the possible surgery. It's baffling that three weeks after the UCL injury, no decision has been made regarding Ohtani and what surgery should be performed. Could not shutting him down ultimately have contributed to his oblique injury?
It certainly appears the Angels are not helping their star athlete, who is expected to win the MVP after a season in which he knocked 26 doubles, eight triples, 44 home runs, 102 runs scored, 95 RBI while swiping 20 stolen bases. He was 10-5 as a starting pitcher this season with 167 strikeouts over 132 innings pitched. He also had a fantastic World Baseball Classic in which he threw the final pitch to Mike Trout to strike him out and secure the WBC win for Japan.
He's had quite the calendar year and isn't getting help from his team to be healthy for the future. It is evident by clearing out his locker he feels jilted.
This isn't the only Angels star player getting the shaft from the team. Mike Trout was placed on the injured list with a left hamate injury to his hand. He returned from the injured list after 38 games on Aug. 22, only to return to the injured list with lingering issues on Aug. 25. The team is now saying they are open to trading him in the offseason. Trout is in the midst of a 12-year contract worth $426.5 million.
Anthony Rendon also has a unique injury situation that makes you question the Angels. The team said he had a left shin contusion on July 4. Since then, Rendon has struggled to heal and has had to seek out multiple opinions for answers. Rendon said he was diagnosed with a fractured left tibia in mid-August. Reporters asked Rendon why this was never announced by the Angels, "You have to ask them."
These issues make the Cardinals' range of problems seem small in comparison. Cardinals manager Oli Marmol called out Tyler O'Neill for a perceived lack of hustle. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak, Marmol, and the pitching staff seemed to call out Willson Contreras for not being just like legendary Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina. Mozeliak and Marmol demoted star prospect Jordan Walker to work on his launch angle, messing with his head and swing. Mozeliak waited until just before the trade deadline when he failed when he didn't get pitching help last offseason once Contreras was locked up, opting to hope for the best with what they had again. These were all unnecessary and dramatic actions. It enhanced the drama already existing from the worst start the team has had in decades.
The Angels, on the other hand, are messing with the health and well-being of three of their star players Ohtani, Trout, and Rendon. It is a terrible look on their part. It could hurt their careers moving forward. The Angels have consistently gone after superstar players available on the free-agent market. These sorts of actions by the team will certainly serve as a deterrent for future free-agent signings. No player will want to go to a location where they are treated poorly. No matter the money.