What’s on tap: Previewing tonight’s action

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Happy weekend once again. A full slate of action tonight like every Friday night. The highlight for those of you of a certain age is a rematch of the 1972 World Series. What? You don’t have a burning desire to relive the 1972 World Series? Man, nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

Of more current relevance are the Orioles and Jays meeting in Toronto. As I mentioned this morning, Baltimore is on a roll and they’re in the process of meeting first Toronto and then Boston on the road. Could be a big week or so for them. Out west we have just as big a matchup in Seattle, where the Rangers take on the Mariners. Stay up late and watch it so you don’t have to play catchup at the end of the year when they’re involved in the most compelling division race and you need to pretend you know what you’re talking about.

Note: that last bit was me talking to myself more than any of you. What? I go to bed early. I’m old. Sue me.

Detroit Tigers (Mike Pelfrey) @ New York Yankees (CC Sabathia), 7:05 PM EDT, Yankee Stadium

Philadelphia Phillies (Jeremy Hellickson) @ Washington Nationals (Stephen Strasburg), 7:05 PM EDT, Nationals Park

St. Louis Cardinals (Michael Wacha) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Gerrit Cole), 7:05 PM EDT, PNC Park

Baltimore Orioles (Kavin Gausman) @ Toronto Blue Jays (Marco Estrada), 7:07 PM EDT, Rogers Centre

Houston Astros (Lance McCullers) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Matt Andiese), 7:10 PM EDT, Tropicana Field

Oakland Athletics (Sonny Gray) @ Cincinnati Reds (Anthony DeSclafani), 7:10 PM EDT, Great American Ball Park

Chicago Cubs (Jason Hammel) @ Atlanta Braves (Bud Norris), 7:35 PM EDT, Turner Field

Boston Red Sox (Steven Wright) @ Minnesota Twins (Tyler Duffey), 8:10 PM EDT, Target Field

Kansas City Royals (Ian Kennedy) @ Chicago White Sox (Chris Sale), 8:10 PM EDT, U.S. Cellular Field

New York Mets (Matt Harvey) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Junior Guerra), 8:10 PM EDT, Miller Park

San Diego Padres (Andrew Cashner) @ Colorado Rockies (Jon Gray), 8:40 PM EDT, Coors Field

Miami Marlins (Justin Nicolino) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Patrick Corbin), 9:40 PM EDT, Chase Field

Cleveland Indians (Corey Kluber) @ Los Angeles Angels (Hector Santiago), 10:05 PM EDT, Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Texas Rangers (Derek Holland) @ Seattle Mariners (Hisashi Iwakuma), 10:10 PM EDT, Safeco Field

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $30 million deal for 2023 with Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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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.