An Angels sale could increase chances of Shohei Ohtani trade; these five teams are best positioned to land him

The Los Angeles Angels announced Tuesday that owner Arte Moreno has initiated a formal process to explore “strategic alternatives” for the franchise, including a potential sale. Moreno, who has owned the Angels since Disney bought the franchise for $184 million in 2003, said the following in his statement:

“While this difficult decision was entirely ours and deserves much thought, my family and I have ultimately decided that now is the time. Throughout this process, we will continue to run the franchise in the best interests of our fans, employees, players and business partners.”

If Moreno’s trial results in a sale, that development will have major implications across the league, not least as it could pave the way for a swap with Shohei Ohtani. As CBS Sports reported last month, competing front offices believe the biggest hurdle to an Ohtani deal would be getting Moreno to sign it; If he’s not in the picture, the odds of an off-season deal would increase.

It’s fair to ask why a new owner would be okay with trading one of baseball’s best players, but the situation is comparable to what the Washington Nationals faced with Juan Soto this past term. Ohtani, 28, is a year away from free hand at which point he is sure to demand a massive contract. The new owner will already have several major commitments on the books, including those given to Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon, and will likely need to commit financially to complete the purchase. As a result, they may shy away from another big deal — especially if they’re realistic about the Angels’ competitive position.

Read  10 Best Cloud Slides 2022 — Top Amazon Slides

The last point is crucial because Ohtani – a two-way sensation and reigning AL MVP – has a say in where he will play after next season. He has publicly stated that winning games is his top priority, making it possible – if not downright likely – that the Angels are low on his list of favorite suitors.

Let’s assume the next Angels owner accepts that reality and that Ohtani gets put on the block this offseason. Which teams are best positioned to win him for a trade? Here are five that come to mind, listed below in perceived order of likelihood.

The Dodgers have been in love with Ohtani since they tried to get him out of high school. He opted to play professionally in Japan instead, but the Dodgers are unlikely to harbor any ill will against his decision. Top manager Andrew Friedman is no stranger to making blockbuster trades and his finest player development machinery has once again armed him with a squad of top youngsters to offer the Angels. The Dodgers could dangle a combination of catcher Diego Cartaya; right-handers Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot and Gavin Stone; and infielders Miguel Vargas and Michael Busch. The only potential snag in a Dodgers pursuit is if the Angels decide against moving Ohtani to their biggest geographic rival.

The Mets have a lot of things in their favor. Owner Steven Cohen has proven time and time again that he’s willing to spend big on top talent; General manager Billy Eppler is the same manager who signed Ohtani in the first place; and the Mets have several notable youngsters who could get in their way with the Angels. That group includes rookie third baseman Brett Baty and catcher Francisco Álvarez, who is one of the best prospects in the game. The Mets might even include one of their first-round picks from last summer, be it catcher Kevin Parada or shortstop Jett Williams. Unlike the Juan Soto talks, there is no interdivisional madness to get in the way.

Speaking of Soto talks, it only makes sense to include one of the other finalists. The Cardinals still have two of their top position prospects in Jordan Walker and shortstop Masyn Winn, third baseman/outfielder, and they have a slew of young players who could serve as secondary figures, including pitchers Cooper Hjerpe, Gordon Graceffo and Matthew Liberatore , and Tink therefore. The Cardinals have a history of showing a willingness to fight back, and if Ohtani is serious about prioritizing victory above all else, he could do worse than settling in St. Louis for the long haul.

The Yankees are difficult to overlook in situations like this. They would make sense as a landing spot for Ohtani (again, for most teams too), but the question is, are they willing to part with the prospects that would be required to complete a deal? Although the Yankees thinned their farm system depth by trading Frankie Montas (and others) at deadline, they were able to retain shortstop prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza. Outfielder Jasson Dominguez also remains in the system, and rumor has it that New York was ready to put him in the right trade. Another factor worth considering is how the Aaron Judge talks could affect the Yankees’ long-term financial plans and their willingness to dish out another massive deal next winter.

There are several other teams that could show up in Ohtani-related rumors this winter. We will cap our market with a wildcard team: the Rangers. If owner Ray Davis and general manager Chris Young want to put the Jon Daniels era behind them, they could pull off another splash move by adding Ohtani. The Rangers certainly have an opportunity to strike a deal as they have several notable youngsters in their farm system such as third baseman Josh Jung; Right-handers Jack Leiter, Owen White, Kumar Rocker and Brock Porter; and outfielder Evan Carter. It is possible that the Rangers being in the same division will reduce their chances of completing a trade. It’s also possible that Young wants to build from within and that Davis would prefer not to award another major contract after receiving mixed results from Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. If Rangers are serious about the proverbial jump, then Ohtani should be one of their top targets this winter.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button