Angels await Ohtani's decision as Meetings close

December 7th, 2023

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- For as much as ’s free-agency process has been shrouded in mystery, perhaps the biggest advantage the Angels can offer Ohtani is a sense of comfort and knowing what to expect from the organization.

It’s a reason why many around the league at the annual Winter Meetings said they believed that Ohtani would ultimately re-sign with the Angels. They remain very firmly in the mix to retain Ohtani, while the Blue Jays and Dodgers have emerged as his other possible destinations. The Cubs and Giants have also indicated interest, but it’s unclear how seriously Ohtani is considering those clubs.

The Angels have been reluctant to talk about their courtship of Ohtani, declining to even reveal if they’ve had an official meeting with him and his representative, Nez Balelo. It’s the opposite of the Dodgers, as manager Dave Roberts said on Tuesday that Ohtani and the Dodgers met recently for several hours. The Blue Jays have also been careful not to reveal too much, although it was reported that Ohtani met with Toronto’s camp at its Spring Training facility in Florida on Monday.

Ohtani wants to keep his free agency as private as possible, so it’s unknown if those talks about his meetings with other clubs will have an impact on his decision. General manager Perry Minasian was asked about it on Wednesday but wisely deferred.

“Everybody does things different,” Minasian said. “Organizations do things different. So I'm staying away from that.”

The Angels, though, have made it clear that they’d love to bring back Ohtani. The Angels and Ohtani still have plenty of trust in each other, especially after he rehabbed successfully from Tommy John surgery to become a two-time AL MVP. They also give him an unparalleled amount of freedom to do his own program and took off his restrictions in 2021.

Ohtani, 29, could decide he’s most comfortable with the Angels, especially because he’ll need to rehab his elbow again next year after undergoing surgery in September. It could make sense for him to then have an opt-out after two or three years to give himself a chance to get a new contract again once he’s fully healthy.

It’s all fascinating and should come to a close soon, as’s Jon Paul Morosi reported Wednesday that Ohtani is expected to make his decision by Sunday.


1. Starting pitching: The Angels could use a veteran starter to add to their mix that already includes Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers, Tyler Anderson, Griffin Canning and Chase Silseth. The club is likely to use a five-man rotation, because if Ohtani re-signs, he won’t pitch in 2024 due to his elbow surgery. It’s impossible to have too much starting pitching, so increasing their depth would make a lot of sense.

2. Relief arms: The Angels signed lefty Adam Kolarek to a one-year deal on Nov. 26 and reportedly agreed to terms with right-handers Luis García on a one-year deal on Tuesday. The club also agreed to a one-year, $1.65 million deal with righty Adam Cimber, a source told's Mark Feinsand on Wednesday. But it could use more help in the bullpen. Carlos Estévez is expected to remain the closer, but the Angels need to find more ways to bridge the gap to him. They reportedly checked in on former Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks during the Winter Meetings.

3. Utility-type players: The Angels have a need for players who can play multiple positions, much like Gio Urshela last year. The club values versatility and depth, especially because star players Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon have dealt with injuries in recent seasons. Adding another outfielder who could play all three positions would make sense, as well as an infielder who can play both corner spots.


The Angels signed right-handed reliever José Marte to a Minor League deal on Monday after they non-tendered him on Nov. 17, and they also reportedly agreed to terms with García on a one-year contract worth $4.25 million on Tuesday. But the Angels have yet to announce García’s contract, as it’s pending a physical. Same goes with their agreement with Cimber.


The Angels passed on the No. 7 selection in the Rule 5 Draft and didn’t lose any players to any other clubs in the Major League phase.


“We've definitely made some progress on some different things. There are areas that we focused on here from a free-agent standpoint and from a trade standpoint, and as we sit here today, I feel like we’re closer and closer today than yesterday. So we'll see what happens. But a lot of the dialogue here is to set things up for a week from now, two weeks from now, a month from now.” -- Minasian