Yesterday Bud Selig, when talking about baseball’s recent harmonious relationship with the players’ union, said “In American labor history it’s probably as bad a relationship as ever existed.”
Rob Neyer — who knows a few things about history — wasn’t going to sit for that. He detailed a handful of labor disputes that, with all due respect to Bud “Abner Doubleday, in conjunction with the Great Gazoo and the saucer people, invented baseball” Selig, were a tad worse than the 1994-95 strike. I won’t spoil it for you because I want you to read it yourself, but here’s a hint: unless the owners employed Baldwin-Felts agents to crack picketing players’ skulls when none of us were looking, the baseball strike doesn’t make a top 1000 list of ugly labor disputes in American history.
I think history is going to be more kind to Bud Selig than a lot of us are on a day-to-day basis, because he’s done a pretty good job with the broad strokes. But man, when you think that baseball has been run by judges and senators and generals and comparative literature professors cum Ivy League presidents, it’s kind of galling to be reminded that it’s currently being run by a used car salesman who lacks even a basic grasp on history.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.
The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.
Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.
Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.
The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.
Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.
Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.