If the Angels traded Shohei Otani, Arte Moreno might have given up.

If they Lost 5-2 to the Texas Rangers. wash Shohei Otani’s last game in Angels uniform, he added to his legend a productive day in yet another depressing defeat for a team that failed in almost every possible way – and in some ways that seemed impossible.

The Angels’ roster could change significantly when they reconvene on Tuesday to kick off a three-game streak against the Oakland A’s, hours after the 3:00 pm PST trade deadline. Reliever Ryan Tepera as well as Aaron Lu, who each signed two-year contracts last offseason to bolster the bullpen, could reportedly be handed over to playoff contenders. starting pitcher Noah Sindergaardwhose contract is expiring is a strong candidate for a trade, although its value is no longer what it used to be.

That theory was dispelled when Sindergaard’s scheduled start on Sunday was pushed back to Tuesday, when he was scheduled to face another rumored trading chip, right-hander Frankie Montas. This is an interesting match.

“That’s right,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “It could be Syndergaard-Montas or bullpen-bullpen.”

And, of course, Otani’s two-way standout name has been featured in recent trade rumors, but if the Angels trade him, owner Arte Moreno could also turn in the keys to the franchise and focus on building parking lots around the stadium.

With three-time American League MVP Mike Trout become a part-time player due to a constant series of injuries, Otani is one of the few remaining landmarks of the Angels. Given the organization’s poor reputation for identifying and developing leads, the idea of ​​exchanging the unicorn-like Ohtani for a pack of copycats is unattractive. It’s hard to believe that they will get reasonable value in return or that these players will become as special as Otani.

The Angels’ best path is built around him well enough to convince him to stay with Anaheim after next season, when his contract expires. Let the baseball players make the decisions, and Moreno doesn’t throw around sentimental, overlong contracts with fading former superstars.

Shohei Otani tripled in the first inning against the Texas Rangers on Sunday.

Shohei Otani tripled in the first inning against the Texas Rangers on Sunday.

(Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

On Sunday, Otani hit base four times, the fifth time this season he’s hit base four or more times in a game. He increased the team’s total runs scored to 58, took two walks to increase his team’s lead in the category to 52, and contributed triples and singles to reach 94 hits, also the team’s best. 199 (156 by 782) in July.

His exploits on the plate and his pitching (9-6, 2.81 earned run average, 145 strikeouts in 99 1/3 innings) got him talking about winning his second consecutive MVP award, although the New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge has been putting up his own epic numbers. The umpire leads the big leagues with a staggering 42 home runs and 91 runs for the American League-leading team, a compelling argument.

Otani usually only speaks to reporters after his speech, but occasionally answers questions relayed to him through the Angels’ media relations department. He refused to speak at all on Sunday.

Otani was announced as the Angels’ starter on Wednesday, prompting questions about whether this means the Angels have no plans to trade him. “Right now he’s due to perform on Wednesday,” Nevin said, “and personally, I hope he does it for me.”

Tepera, who hit two goals in the eighth inning without a score on Sunday, was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Chicago White Sox shortly before the 2021 trade deadline. But the 34-year-old figurehead said his circumstances are not the same as they were a year ago when he became a Cubs sell-off.

“It was almost certain that I was traded, I became a free agent, and the way the Cubs just sold everyone, they sold everyone,” he said. “I think last year that I was traded was rather inevitable. It’s a little different this year, signing a two-year contract.”

Shohei Otani laughs as he talks to Angels outfielder Brandon Marsh ahead of Sunday's loss to the Texas Rangers.

Shohei Otani laughs as he talks to Angels outfielder Brandon Marsh ahead of Sunday’s loss to the Texas Rangers.

(Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

He would love to win back that two-year, $14 million contract as Angel. “I like spending time here. I like it here. I came here for a reason, and one of the reasons obviously was to come here and win,” he said.

“I am getting a little older and nearing the end of my career. My ultimate goal is to win. As the saying goes, whatever happens, happens. You know, move on to the winning team that’s in contention for a playoff spot. But I enjoy my time here and wouldn’t mind staying.”

Like the rest of us, he will have to wait to see what the lineup looks like after the trade deadline. “It might look different. It might not. Who knows?” said rookie left-hander Reid Detmers, who gave up one earned run and struck out a career-high 12 batters in seven innings on Sunday.

“The next couple of days can be pretty crazy, but it’s out of my control. I can’t do anything about it.”

By now, losses have become commonplace for the Angels (43-59). Otani’s trade would have been the worst loss of a season that started with high hopes but turned into another disappointing collective setback.