The speculation continues to grow regarding whether the Angels will trade Shohei Ohtani in two weeks.
On the one hand, it would be a colossal embarrassment to trade away the best player in baseball and potentially the best player to ever walk the face of the earth, especially when the Angels have the funds to retain him. On the other hand, letting Ohtani walk for nothing would be criminal to the organization. He’s made it known he wants to play for a winner, and I can say with absolute certainty the Angels don’t have what it takes to come close to winning anything this season. They likely won’t even make the playoffs, which might make it impossible for them to convince Ohtani to re-sign.
At this point, I’m split 50/50 on whether the Angels will trade Ohtani. I think they should, but bad teams stay bad for a reason. The Angels are an incompetent organization from top to bottom, and even though Ohtani could fetch a haul in a trade — even as a rental — they might hold onto him in hopes he will re-sign.
A lot of it will depend on how the next two weeks shake out. The Angels are 4.5 games out of the Wild Card. If they fall any further, they might have no choice, and almost every team will be calling about their asking price.
MLB.com recently comprised a list of 10 teams that should consider trading for Shohei Ohtani, and the Braves came in very high at #4. That might surprise some, but I couldn’t agree more with David Adler’s reasoning.
Oh, you don’t think the Braves need Ohtani? Hear us out. With this team as good as it is right now, sure, Atlanta might come out on top from the pack of World Series contenders. But with Ohtani, it’s the Braves, in a league of their own, and then everybody else.
Imagine Ohtani and Ronald Acuña Jr. on the same team. One the best player in the world today, the other the most electric. That on its own is worth making Ohtani-to-the-Braves happen.
As far as the roster fit: Slot Ohtani in at DH, into the No. 2 spot in the order, and behind Spencer Strider in the rotation. It all works. You get a ridiculous lineup top six of Acuña-Ohtani-Austin Riley–Matt Olson–Sean Murphy–Ozzie Albies. You get to win the matchup battle with Eddie Rosario and Marcell Ozuna as slugging platoon left fielders. And you get a dominant top-to-bottom playoff rotation with Strider, Ohtani, Max Fried and Charlie Morton, plus Bryce Elder ready to go. That’s just a World Series championship team. Who beats the Braves with Ohtani?
Unlike most, I actually think the Braves have an outside shot of signing Shohei Ohtani in free agency. There is no better place for him to consistently win, he seems like a player who might not be interested in signing for the most money, and the Braves have the resources to make a major splash in free agency for the right player, given the core of their roster is locked up to team-friendly deals for the foreseeable future. Trading for him now would only increase the likelihood of that happening because once a player like him arrives in the Braves clubhouse and competes for a World Series, I’m not sure he’s ever going to leave.
However, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here and imagine the Braves trade a haul for Shohei Ohtani — including guys like Kyle Wright, Bryce Elder, and several prospects — and he chooses not to re-sign. It sounds like a nightmare, but if the Braves win the World Series, would anyone complain?
The answer is absolutely not. The Braves may have the best team in baseball right now, but anything can happen in this sport. Adding Ohtani might give Atlanta the best roster ever constructed, even if it is just for one season. They already have one of the most powerful lineups of all time, and they would be adding Major League Baseball’s current home run leader. Then, the Braves would trot out a playoff rotation of Spencer Strider, Max Fried, Shohei Ohtani, and Charlie Morton. That’s about as unbeatable as it gets, and it’s something Alex Anthopoulos will have to consider if Ohtani is made available at the trade deadline.
Photo: John Cordes/Icon Sportswire