Shohei Ohtani blasta a home run against the Blue Jays | PastimeAthletics

Weird? Angels Use A Body Lookalike For Shohei Ohtani On Team Picture Day

Normally, young athletes can’t wait to line up and get their pictures, taken. But not former AL MVP Shohei Ohtani, who was apparently unavailable to ‘say cheese’ during the Angels’ recent picture day. So, they just used a doppelganger for the dual threat, instead.

Shohei Ohtani on the mound in St. Louis | Paradigm Pitching – YouTube

“(The Angles) used a body double, and will presumably photoshop (Ohtani) in,” The Athletic’s Sam Blum posted to X, formerly known as Twitter. “He was taken through a back exit by Angels PR.”

Perhaps Ohtani had to leave early to meet up with his agent. After all, they’ve got a huge offseason ahead of them and might be looking to get a jump on where the 29-year-old superstar will be playing next season. He’s set for free agency at the end of the year.

Los Angeles, now 65-75 (4th – AL West) is going nowhere as 2023 winds down, and ‘Team Picture Day’ might have been just a snapshot of their future. One where Ohtani isn’t available to them at all. With the 29-year-old global star just weeks away from free agency, the franchise will have to lay out some serious financces to keep him in the fold.

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Because of his historically unique blend of skills, the pitcher-outfielder is fully expected to sign the largest contract in the history of Major League Baseball. Early speculation was that Ohtani’s long-term deal would be worth at least half a billion dollars.

Ohtani was hitting .304, with 44 home runs and 95 RBI heading into the weekend, as he looks to capture his second AL MVP Award. Add in his 10-5 record and 3.14 ERA, and it’s easy to see why he’s the crown jewel of this year’s open market.

However, Ohtani was recently diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his pitching arm, leaving his pitching status for next year uncertain, as he may require surgery. While that won’t affect him getting a slew of monstrous offers, it could change the overall role any future teams may have in mind for him. So, it will be interesting to see how much that comes into play as Ohtani prepares to make history at the negotiating table, in much the same way he has on the field.

Shohei Ohtani, speaking with the media (2023) | The Sporting Tribune – YouTube

“Shohei’s gonna be fine,” his agent Naz Balelo told ESPN regarding his client’s injury. “Is he gonna pitch the rest of the year? No. We already know that. Is he gonna get into next year? We don’t know yet. So just bear with me on that.”

“But I do know this — no matter what timetable we’re dealing with and when we get this done, Shohei’s gonna be in somebody’s lineup next year, DHing when the bell rings. We know that. We’re not gonna push that. He’s gonna be good to go.”

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