MLB Rumors: What Shohei Ohtani's torn UCL means for his next contract

Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani tore the UCL in his elbow, which should have a significant impact on the Halos season and Ohtani's free agency.
Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Angels - Game Two
Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Angels - Game Two / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

When the Los Angeles Angels went all-in at the MLB trade deadline with the hopes of keeping Shohei Ohtani happy, this is hardly what they envisioned. After a tailspin of epic proportions, the Halos are out of the AL West race, and hanging on by a thread for the AL Wild Card.

Those hopes were dashed overnight with the news of an Ohtani UCL tear. Baseball's unicorn won't pitch again this season, and will get a second opinion before deciding whether he needs surgery. Ohtani already underwent Tommy John surgery once before in 2018.

When the Angels chose not to trade Ohtani at the deadline they knew this was a risk. However, Ohtani has maintained picture-esque health this year. The competitor inside of him perhaps pushed the soon-to-be free agent too far.

“Anytime somebody leaves the game in the second inning, you’re worried about an injury, sure,” manager Phil Nevin said. “We saw the velocity tick up in the first, but in the second it was down. And I noticed the shape of his pitches, which we have information on, just weren’t the same. I saw a look on his face after he threw a pitch and I wanted to go check on him.”

As Nevin noted, Ohtani's fastball velocity dropped several MPH in the second inning.

MLB Rumors: What does Shohei Ohtani's elbow injury mean for his looming free agency?

Shohei Ohtani would have reset the free-agent market, signing a contract the likes of which pundits like myself have never seen. Now, that could all still happen with the right team, but it would be wise for any organization to protect against this sort of thing leaving them out to try.

Ohtani has now suffered two major elbow injuries over the course of six years. That's enough reason to wonder if he can continue to pitch at this frequency long term.

As sad as it may be for Ohtani and the sport of baseball as a whole, Ohtani's overall value went down overnight. His ability to hit and pitch at such a high frequency -- and ability -- without worry of injury was a big selling point. Now, it's clear that mismanagement can lead to consequences.

Ohtani is still immensely valuable, and should sign the richest contract in baseball history. The protections, opt-outs and overall insurance in that deal from a team perspective just got more complicated, especially if Ohtani and his team still want over $500 million for an unprecedented asset coming off major surgery.

Next. Money talks: Are the Angels putting Shohei Ohtani’s health at risk?. Money talks: Are the Angels putting Shohei Ohtani’s health at risk?. dark