It's surely a bummer to hear this now, but perhaps it'll temper Los Angeles Dodgers fans' expectations ahead of the trade deadline, since their surge has been coinciding with the Angels' slide.
For as long as fans can remember, people have been mocking up Shohei Ohtani trades to the Dodgers. The practice was even more prevalent last year, when many believed the Angels might look to cash in on 1.5 years of Ohtani's control considering how far they were out of the playoff race. It was clear the two-way star had intentions of leaving after 2023 to play for a contender (assuming the Angels would still fall short the following year).
After a good start in 2023, the Angels looked as if they'd be able to remain in the Ohtani sweepstakes come the offseason, but they dropped nine of their last 10 games before the All-Star break to fall one game under .500 and increase their chances of selling due to the crowded AL playoff picture.
Dodgers fans once again got excited. They figured they'd be able to cut the line, ditch prospects they didn't necessarily need, acquire Ohtani, make a run this year, and then get him to re-sign when the offseason arrived.
Turns out, the Dodgers can keep their prospects and save them for other trades, because Angels owner Arte Moreno is reportedly "unwilling" to trade Ohtani to the Dodgers if the AL MVP frontrunner is made available before Aug. 1.
Dodgers Rumors: Shohei Ohtani trade likely off table because of Angels spiteful owner
And the Dodgers knew this all along?! Do you know how many months of anticipation this could've saved the fanbase?!
You can't really blame Moreno, either. If Ohtani is going to land with the Dodgers, he'll do so on his own accord. If Moreno lets it happen and kickstarts a World Series run for the "rival" franchise two hours away, it'd be a terrible look.
Then again, if Moreno felt like being edgy, he'd keep as many bidders in the ring as possible and try to squeeze them for all their worth. And who better than the Dodgers, who are one of the few contenders with a farm system that possesses enough talent to make a deal happen? Moreno could theoretically back the Dodgers into a corner, take their top young talent, and begin the re-tool process in an expedited fashion.
Right now, however, there's no clear indication a trade will happen, nor is there any suggestion the trend is moving in that direction. But MLB insider Ken Rosenthal says it'll be a "free for all" if it does. Maybe it's best the Dodgers avoid such a mad dash so they can keep their best talent, sign Ohtani in the offseason, and be able to seamlessly build around him.
Somehow, it still seems as if Moreno would be doing the Dodgers a favor one way or another.