At the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Angels made multiple moves in an effort to make the playoffs and entice Shohei Ohtani from leaving the team in free agency.
So far, things are not going to plan.
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The Angels lost, 3-2 to the Mariners on Sunday after Eugenio Suarez hit a line-drive to score Ty France on what turned out to be the game-winning run in the 10th inning.
The Seattle victory secured a 4-0 series sweep for the Mariners and marked the sixth straight loss for the Angels, further diminishing their dwindling postseason hopes.
Numbers don’t look great for Angels
The Angels fell to 56-57 with the loss, putting them seven games behind the Toronto Blue Jays (63-50) in the race for the AL’s final wild-card berth. In between the Blue Jays and the Angels stand the Boston Red Sox (57-54), New York Yankees (58-54) and the same Mariners team (60-52) that just swept Los Angeles. The AL West crown remains well out of reach as a two-team race between the Texas Rangers (66-46) Houston Astros (64-49).
None of this is conducive to the Angels making their first postseason trip since 2014. That’s bad news for the bigger-picture goal of retaining the services of Ohtani, a singular two-way talent who’s on pace for his second MVP crown in three seasons.
Did the Angels make the right call?
The Angels faced a choice at the trade deadline. Deal Ohtani and ensure that they get something in return. Or keep Ohtani and add pieces around him at the risk of watching him walk in free agency this offseason for nothing.
The Angels chose the latter, more admirable option. When faced with the choice of trading away the greatest talent of a generation or taking a swing at keeping him, you go all in on trying to keep him. Even if the odds are slim.
The Angels’ efforts to improve around Ohtani netted pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López and hitters C.J. Cron and Randal Grichuk. They collectively improve the roster, but didn’t look like genuine difference makers at the deadline.
Since joining the Angels, Grichuk and Cron are a combined 11 of 57 (.193) with two home runs and five RBI. Giolito has a 12.00 ERA with two losses in two starts. López has a 1.80 ERA and a save in five relief innings, but was tagged with the loss in a 9-7 defeat to the Mariners in Friday.
It’s a small sample size, but it’s safe to say this isn’t the hot start the Angels were hoping for out of the bunch. The cold reality is that they’re dealing with a small sample in their effort to reach the postseason.
They’re running out of time and chances to convince Ohtani that Los Angeles — with the Angels — is where he belongs.