The Angels are doing what they always do at this time of the year, sliding out of playoff contention. Following this week’s series against the Yankees, the Halos are five games back of the Blue Jays for the final Wild Card spot and nine games back of the Rangers for first place in the AL West. If this trend continues, the Angels really don’t have a choice. They must consider trading Shohei Ohtani to the highest bidder.
Jim Bowden recently acknowledged this phenomenon in a piece for The Athletic, and he even came up with a list of potential suitors, ranking them from 1 to 10. The Braves came in at #6; although, Bowden did say it is highly unlikely Atlanta meets the high demands of the Angels.
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.
The Braves roster is set now and for the future, so screwing with that for a rental wouldn’t be smart business. The only reason Alex Anthopoulos should even consider trading for Ohtani is if he’s dead set on doing whatever it takes to extend him.
However, if the Braves do plan on making a run at signing Ohtani this upcoming offseason, trading for him might be a wise decision. He comes off as a very loyal player that is desperate for an opportunity to win. If the Braves were to show that kind of commitment to him as well as what winning feels like, it might play a big role in where he decides to play in the future.
So, what could a potential trade for Shohei Ohtani look like for the Braves?
Angels Trade: Shohei Ohtani
The asking price for just three months of Ohtani will be sky-high, but this should be enough to pique the interest of the Angels. Bryce Elder is a cost-controlled All-Star that I wouldn’t put on the table for most players, but Shohei Ohtani is one of them.
Kyle Wright’s injury concerns may scare the Angels away, but this is a guy who is a top-25 pitcher in baseball when healthy. If I’m the Braves, I’m perfectly fine holding onto Wright in preparation for next year, but if the plan is to impress Ohtani and offer him a mega-contract at season’s end, I’m also okay with parting ways with Wright.
Owen Murphy is one of the Braves’ top pitching prospects. He’s only 19, but he was a first-round selection (20th) overall and should interest an Angels team that needs as much starting pitching as possible.
Grissom is the only non-pitcher included, but he’s another major-league ready piece. If he were still a prospect, he would be inside the top 100, and while he might not have a clear path to the majors with the Braves, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a role for him in Los Angeles.
I think this is around what it would take for the Braves to pry Ohtani away from the Angels. Perhaps they could avoid including Wright and include a couple of other prospects, but I think this a more than fair deal for the Angels. Meanwhile, it would make the best team in baseball much better, and give the Braves a legitimate opportunity to re-sign Ohtani this offseason, maybe even at a discount if he ends up enjoying the final few months of the season in Atlanta. This hypothetical wouldn’t jack up the major-league roster, but it is still way too much if there isn’t a willingness to give Ohtani the contract he desires this winter.
Photographer: John Cordes/Icon Sportswire