Reason for Angels missing out on Shohei Ohtani is infuriating

The Los Angeles Angels' reason for not signing Shohei Ohtani will surely upset the fanbase.

Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Dodgers Spring Training
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Dodgers Spring Training / Masterpress/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Shohei Ohtani to a record 10-year, $700 million contract in free agency. The catch? Of that $700 million, $680 million is deferred. Ohtani will only get paid $2 million annually for the duration of his contract, leaning on his endorsement deals (and still $2 million annually) to scrape together a living in LA.

It's a hard-knock life.

In order to land with the Dodgers, Ohtani had to stab his former team in the back. The Los Angeles Angels spent six years with Ohtani on the roster, but six straight postseason misses left the writing on the wall.

Still, the Angels tried to convince Ohtani to stay. With Mike Trout on the roster and a reasonably aggressive front office, there was still reason to believe the Angels could turn it around. Now, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, we know why Ohtani ultimately left the Angels. The reason is going to ignite a deep fury in some members of the fanbase.

"The Los Angeles Angels think that if they had been willing to match the Dodgers’ offer of 10 years, $700 million for Shohei Ohtani, he’d still be with the team. But while the Dodgers were thrilled with the record deferrals, Angels owner Arte Moreno had no interest in the delayed payments."

Come on, man. What are the Angels doing?

Angels believe Shohei Ohtani would have re-signed if Arte Moreno agreed to deferred payments

This is truly inexcusable if true. Shohei Ohtani is, without hyperbole, the greatest talent of his generation. More than that, he is an icon for the sport and a one-man cash machine for the franchise he plays for. The Angels essentially tanked their profits, in addition to the on-field product, by not coughing up the necessary dough and structuring a deal to Ohtani's liking.

I will never be a billionaire sports owner, so I cannot claim to know the inner workings of Arte Moreno's mind. That said, if Ohtani is essentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars on an annual basis, and he's the best path toward contention for your franchise, there's no reason to balk at the $700 million price tag. It's a lot, but Ohtani is a once-in-a-lifetime talent.

To balk at the deferrals is even stranger. Money tends to lose value over time. That $680 million is going to be less valuable in a decade than it is right now. Plus, it would allow the Angels more flexibility to add to the lineup around Ohtani. Dealing with annual $68 million payments once Ohtani is no longer in uniform would suck, yeah, but again — we are talking about the modern GOAT, the most popular player in the sport and a reigning unanimous MVP. You let him walk over deferrals?

Now, we don't know with absolute certainty that deferred money is the only reason for Ohtani's departure. The Dodgers are conveniently located across town with a far better roster and a much more spend-happy front office. But, Ohtani did like being with the Angels and happy players tend to prefer comfort over change when all is the same on the financial front.

It sure sounds like the Angels fumbled the bag here. And that's a real shame for the Angels fanbase.

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