Angels could be hinting at looming Shohei Ohtani trade

The Los Angeles Angels promotional giveaways for the 2023 season could include hints that Shohei Ohtani may be traded before the deadline.

Will the Angels actually trade Shohei Ohtani in 2023? Fans in Los Angeles and elsewhere across the country are looking for signs wherever they can find them.

What clues has Ohtani dropped? What reports can be trusted? Which teams are interested? The speculation even extends to promotional giveaways.

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times pointed out something that could be of interest on just that subject: The Angels promotional schedule in 2023 doesn’t feature Ohtani after the MLB Trade Deadline.

Angels promotions don’t include Shohei Ohtani after the MLB Trade Deadline

Shaikin is right. The team will have a “13 strikeouts” bobblehead for Ohtani on April 8 followed by an Ohtani-themed clear bag giveaway on April 9. An Ohtani shirt will be given away on April 22. Ohtani and Mike Trout will feature on a blanket for April 25’s game. An Ohtani puzzle is on tap for June 28.  And then, nothing.

This isn’t just player-themed front-loaded giveaways for the season either. There are Trout-themed giveaways on April 21, April 25, Sept. 8 and Sept. 15, two before the deadline and two after.

Does it mean anything?

Let’s be realistic here. The folks putting together giveaways and promotional nights aren’t in the know when it comes to player moves. They may be in the building, but they’re not making the decisions and they’re not in the rooms where they happen.

It’s more likely they are reading the tea leaves and don’t want to put themselves in a bind if Ohtani is dealt before the deadline. Knowing the situation surrounding Ohtani, they’re probably just being smart here.

The Angels have the two-way star under contract for 2023 but he is scheduled to become a free agent in 2024. Trading him would allow the team to get something back for him instead of letting him walk if they don’t believe they will be able to win a free-agency battle.

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