Braves appear on list of Shohei Ohtani trade suitors via The Athletic

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Jim Bowden said the obvious in his piece for The Athletic this morning — the Angels should trade Shohei Ohtani.

They are sliding out of the Wild Card race, and if they are honestly evaluating where they are as a team, they know they don’t have a prayer’s chance at winning the World Series. Ohtani has made it known he wants to win and will test free agency. The Angels haven’t held up their end of the bargain. He’s likely leaving in free agency, and losing Ohtani for nothing would be catastrophic.

Bowden then came up with a list of the most likely landing spots for the Japanese superstar, and the Braves clocked in at #6.

6. Braves

The Braves are the best team in baseball and president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos is always looking to add a top-of-the-rotation starter. However, they don’t have enough left in their farm system to trade for Ohtani, and they’re not going to break up their major-league team, which is among the favorites to win the World Series. Expect them to do their due diligence but not be in the mix if Ohtani is traded.

There have been rumors that have suggested the Angels will be looking for major-league talent and a couple of top prospects for Ohtani’s services. That’s a massive asking price, especially considering he could choose to walk at the end of the season.

If the Braves were serious about handing Ohtani the massive contract extension he deserves, there are some creative packages they could put together. Bryce Elder is a young pitcher that is having a tremendous season, but it could be worth it to sell high on him right now. There’s no question that would get the conversation started, and the Braves could also dangle top prospects like AJ Smith-Shawver, Vaughn Grissom, and Hurston Waldrep in front of the Angels.

There is a realistic path for the Braves to acquire Ohtani via trade. I just have a difficult time believing they will pull the trigger on such a deal if they aren’t 100% committed to making sure he stays in Atlanta for the rest of his career, which could take a contract north of $600 million. It makes more sense for the Braves to pass right now, and then see if they can land Ohtani in free agency a couple of months down the road.

Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire

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