Minasian: 'I always feel a sense of urgency' to win

August 4th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Rhett Bollinger's Angels Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

ANAHEIM -- The Angels were busy at the Trade Deadline on Tuesday, making three separate deals that saw them trade outfielder Brandon Marsh, right-hander Noah Syndergaard and closer Raisel Iglesias for a group of prospects led by catcher Logan O’Hoppe, outfielders Mickey Moniak and Jadiel Sanchez and left-hander Tucker Davidson.

Notably, the Angels did not trade two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who is set to be a free agent after next season. They also saved nearly $60 million in their deals, as the Phillies are picking up the $7.6 million owed to Syndergaard the rest of this year and the Braves are taking on $51.6 million of Iglesias' contract, including $16 million each year from 2023-25.

Angels general manager Perry Minasian was asked about the decision to hold onto Ohtani this Trade Deadline and whether he believed the team has a chance to sign him to an extension, especially with the money saved from the trades.

"I'm not going to get into contract negotiations about any player, but we love Shohei and I think Shohei really enjoys being here,” Minasian said. “And Shohei's a guy that shows up every day prepared. He's obviously excellent on the field and excellent off the field. He's the type of guy we want to be about. So, we'll see where it goes in the future."

The Angels did listen in on offers for Ohtani, but were never serious about trading last year’s AL MVP because of what he means to the organization both on and off the field. The White Sox, Padres and Yankees were reportedly among the club’s that made offers for Ohtani, while the Dodgers also tried to engage the Angels on a potential trade.

But Minasian wouldn’t talk specifics about the kind of offers he was getting for Ohtani.

"It's all subjective, right,” Minasian said. “Teams are going to call on great players. I'm not going to get into negotiations with anybody, but there are multiple players in that locker room that teams wanted and threw concepts at. And I do the same thing. I'll call a team on somebody that might not necessarily seem like they are available and throw out an idea. Nobody hangs up the phone. But with that being said, Shohei is here and we're excited about that."

Ohtani, who was set to start on the mound on Wednesday and entered the day having struck out at least 10 batters in six straight starts, has indicated in the past that he wants to play for a winning team. So, Minasian was asked why Ohtani would want to stay with the Angels, who haven’t had a winning season since 2015 and haven’t made the postseason since '14.

"I think that's a question for him on why he'd want to stay here,” Minasian said. “But I always feel a sense of urgency. We want to win here. But again, I have to build a better roster. No doubt about it. We just need to build a better supporting cast. I think this is a great organization and I think if you asked the three guys who are leaving, they really enjoyed their time here. It's a great place to play."

Minasian added that he believes the Angels can contend in 2023. He says the Trade Deadline helped them in that sense, because they were able to acquire some young talent while also freeing up money to use in free agency or trades.

"I still think there's talent here,” Minasian said. “I mean, health is a big part of it. We have to find a way to stay healthy. And it's on me, we've got to find more depth. I've got to build a better roster. That's something we're going to attack this offseason and we still have two months to go."