Shohei Ohtani (29, LA Angels) finally goes to the operating table. Due to an elbow injury, he ended his season as a pitcher early on, and held on until the end to continue the season as a hitter, but due to an oblique muscle injury, he ended up finishing the season as a hitter as well.
메이저놀이터Otani’s agent, Nezu Valero, announced on the 20th (Korean time) that Ohtani underwent elbow surgery this morning. Regarding the background behind the surgery, he explained that he “placed emphasis on the big picture” considering Ohtani’s career. It is known that Otani continued to think about ways to continue his career as a pitcher.
This season, Ohtani started 23 games as a pitcher and recorded 10 wins, 5 losses, 132 innings, 167 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3.14. Then, on the 24th of last month, against the Cincinnati Reds, he voluntarily retired after 1⅓ innings, and as a result of the examination, his elbow ligaments were damaged, so he did not hold the ball in his hand after that.
Dr. Neil Elatrace, who performed Ohtani’s surgery, said, “After careful consideration with Ohtani, the final decision was to address the problem at hand, reinforce healthy ligaments while adding tissue to extend the life of the elbow. Opening Day 2024 “He will fully recover from the surgery and be able to play as a hitter without any restrictions. He will be able to double as a pitcher starting in the 2025 season,” he explained.
“Ohtani is currently resting and preparing to begin rehabilitation,” Valero said.
Ohtani was left out of the starting lineup for 11 consecutive games before being placed on the 15-day injured list on the 18th due to an oblique muscle problem. Although he struggled to somehow continue the season as a hitter, he cleaned out his locker at the Angels clubhouse on the 16th as he decided to go to the operating table with the long-term life of the player weighing on him. As Otani, who is in the preliminary free agency season, took out all his belongings from his locker, there was a lot of talk that he was likely to part ways with the Angels.
Although the season ended early due to injury, Ohtani is still considered a strong American League MVP candidate. He appeared in 135 games as a hitter this season, recording a batting average of 0.304, OPS of 1.066, 44 home runs, and 95 RBI. If not for his injury, he could have challenged for the major league lead in home runs by the end of the season.
Despite this, Ohtani still maintains first place in various batting indicators. OPS is first in the major leagues, and home runs are first in the American League. There is a gap of 8 from 2nd place Lewis Robert (White Sox), who recorded 36 home runs. If Robert fails to catch up for the rest of the season, Ohtani will become the first Japanese major leaguer to become the home run king.
He appears to be a strong candidate for MVP as he has shown top-level performance by hitting 10 wins as a pitcher and 44 home runs as a batter. He showed outstanding results, including hitting .300 for the first time in six seasons in the major leagues.
MLB.com, the major league website, emphasized that Ohtani’s 2023 cannot be devalued just because he is on the operating table, saying, “The superstar who doubles as a pitcher still remains a strong candidate to win the American League MVP.”
He’s unlikely to make a big hit on the free agent market either. Although it will be difficult for Ohtani to play as a pitcher next season, it is predicted that he will still be able to sign a contract worth 500 to 600 million dollars. The general consensus is that a contract worth well over 12 years and $426.5 million held by Angels teammate Mike Trout is possible.