Teams are calling regarding a potential trade for Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, and while a trade involving the unique superstar is seen as very unlikely, the Angels are for perhaps the first time not hanging up the phone.
The Angels are telling teams they need to listen on everyone following the surprise collapse of their team off a very strong start that had them in first place in May. That doesn’t mean all-time great Mike Trout has a chance to be moved, as he has a no-trade clause, is currently battling a back issue and is playing under a long-term deal.
A trade involving Ohtani might be only slightly more likely than Trout, considering longtime Angels owner Arte Moreno loves his biggest stars and seems to be more involved than most owners. Two executives calling on Ohtani expressed doubt that the Angels would pull the trigger on such a mega-deal based on the history of the team and the owner.
While the Angels’ most likely sell pieces are starter Noah Syndergaard, closer Raisel Iglesias and relievers Ryan Tepera and Aaron Loup, they are engaging when rival executives mention Ohtani. This won’t be easy, as it would involve a massive haul back (plus ownership approval) in the five days left before the Aug. 2 trade deadline.
No surprise, word is it would take something absolutely eye-popping for the Angels to even seriously consider dealing Ohtani. The 2021 MVP is back in that race again as he combines tremendous pitching and hitting exploits.
The teams currently trying for Nats superstar outfielder Juan Soto are the most logical ones to make a call on Ohtani, as those are the aggressive teams with prospects to give themselves a chance. The Padres, Rangers, Dodgers, Cardinals and Mariners are among teams in the mix for Soto, but it isn’t known which teams have called on Ohtani, who provides the extra benefit of being an incredible drawing card and marketing tool.
The other plus is that he makes just $5 million in the second year of a two-year deal, and more than pays for himself in marketing opportunities. He isn’t a free agent until after 2023 (Soto is free after 2024).
Ohtani’s pitching has actually improved this year, as he is 9-5 with a 2.80 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings. He has 21 home runs this year after hitting 46 last year and winning the award as the top player in the league.