ARLINGTON, Texas – Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday that Shohei Ohtani’s comments last weekend about wanting to win don’t mean the two-way star wants to leave the organization when he becomes a free agent afterward. of the 2023 season.
Ohtani, one of the AL MVP favorites with 45 home runs and a 3.18 ERA, said Sunday that while he likes the team, the fans and the atmosphere, his top priority is winning.
“We all feel the same way, we all want to win,” Maddon said before the Angels’ game in Texas on Tuesday night. “If someone misinterprets that as wanting to leave, they are trying to connect some dots that don’t necessarily mean what he said at all.
“He also mentioned how much he loves being here. The inner sanctuary of the clubhouse, the guys, the coaching staff, everything about him. The area. The fans. He loves them all. We all want to get to the next level, and we see it. as an absolute possibility that it will happen here in the very near future. “
The Angels have had a losing record in six straight seasons and missed the playoffs in seven straight years, the last four with Ohtani. Maddon and star outfielder Mike Trout have recently condemned the franchise’s largely ineffective work in building the roster.
“This cannot continue,” Maddon said last week. “We can’t be in this position annually. This organization is better than that. We deserve better than that.”
Ohtani said Sunday through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara that it was “very frustrating, very disappointing” and that “I always hope to be in the playoff race at the end.”
Still, Maddon believes Ohtani doesn’t plan to jump ship at the earliest opportunity.
“Don’t forget all the topics you brought up in regards to everything else because I think that overrides the simple fact of saying you want to win and somehow connects you to wanting to leave,” Maddon said.