As if Shohei Ohtani needed extra motivation heading into his free agent walk year, he's apparently gotten an additional dose thanks to the Yankees and Aaron Judge.
Good luck, Rest of the American League! Hope you like salt!
Ohtani is, hands-down, the most special player in the game, able to hit like Paul Goldschmidt and pitch like Aaron Nola. Meanwhile, reigning AL MVP and Yankee for Life Aaron Judge is able to hit like Aaron Judge and pitch like, well, Paul Goldschmidt.
There's no comparing anyone to Ohtani, and it's nearly impossible to try ... but if the Japanese star is ever going to lose the MVP award, it's going to be to a 62-homer season that helps lift a more prominent team to a 99-win season, while his Angels sink into the background.
Tough to relitigate, and we certainly hoped the debate would end once Judge wiped the floor with Ohtani (28 first-place votes to 2). Unfortunately, the Angels' star is still sour over his perceived MVP snub last fall, according to manager Phil Nevin on SiriusXM radio this past weekend.
Angels star Shohei Ohtani probably wants to win stolen MVP back from Yankees
Again, sounds like a guy who probably doesn't want to come East to join forces with Judge and the Yankees after this season ends! Just a hunch!
Ohtani's immediate future involves competing in the World Baseball Classic for Team Japan and unleashing his rage (though Judge won't be on Team USA), but his long-term path is much murkier.
Some claim he's inclined to leave the Angels, an idea that gained more credence when owner Arte Moreno pulled his team off the sale rack and decided he was ready to be an Emperor for Life yet again. Others claim they have no idea where he's heading, though Steve Cohen's billions lurk in the background, and the Dodgers have rearranged deck chairs this offseason seemingly for the sole purpose of wooing him.
Maybe that's the move, then. Switch to the National League. Then you won't ever have to go head-to-head with Judge in the MVP race again.
We kid! We kid. We kid, kind of.