TOKYO (AP) — Japanese two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani arrived home on Tuesday and was critical of his Los Angeles Angels team missing the Major League Baseball playoffs again.
In an interview at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, he said it was “a good season for me personally.” Not so good for the Angels, though.
Without solid support for former AL MVPs Ohtani and Mike Trout, the Angels suffered a seventh consecutive losing season, and missed the playoffs for an eighth consecutive year.
“I have to say that August and September in particular felt longer to me than last year,” Ohtani said, speaking in Japanese. “We were not able to play as many good games as we would like — including 14 consecutive losses. So I have a rather negative impression of this season.”
The Angels finished 73-89 and were 33 games behind the Houston Astros in the American League West.
The Angels last made the playoffs in 2014. Ohtani joined in 2018, leaving one of baseball’s biggest stars on the sidelines for the game’s biggest stage.
Ohtani was 15-9 with a 2.33 ERA as a pitcher. As a batter he hit 34 home runs, had 95 RBIs and hit .273.
He was asked about the possibility of being the American League MVP again.
“I’m just happy to be considered as a candidate,” he said.
Ohtani has already picked up an armful of awards. He was the AL MVP last year. Last season, he was also presented a special award — the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award — by Commissioner Rob Manfred to recognize his two-way play.
Ohtani has already agreed to a $30 million deal with the Angels for the 2023 season, his final year before free agency. The Angels have said they want to keep him.
He was open to playing for Japan in next year’s World Baseball Classic, which takes place before the MLB season.
“Many top-class Major League players from the United States and Latin America have announced their participation,” Ohtani said. “Participating in this tournament is very appealing to me. I have that kind of feeling.”
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