The Los Angeles Angels Owner Arte Moreno announced Tuesday It has begun a formal process of evaluating “strategic alternatives” involving the franchise, including a possible sale.. Moreno, who bought the Angels franchise from Disney in 2003 for $184 million, said as part of his statement:
“While this difficult decision was entirely our choice and merited careful consideration, my family and I have come to the conclusion that the time is now. Throughout this process, we will continue to lead the franchise. Our fans, employees, players and business partners.”
If Moreno’s process results in a sale, that development could have major ramifications across the league, as it would clear the way for a Shohei Ohtani trade. As CBS Sports reported last month, league front offices believe the Moreno signing is the biggest obstacle to an Ohtani trade; If he’s out of the picture, the odds of a one-season deal increase.
It’s fair to wonder why an incoming owner would be right to trade one of the best players in baseball, but the situation is comparable. Washington Nationals Faced with a past deadline with Juan Soto. Ohtani, 28, is one year away from free agency, at which point he’s sure to demand a big contract. The new owner will already have a number of big responsibilities, including the books given to Mike Trout and Anthony Renton. As a result, they could shy away from another big deal — especially if they take a realistic view of where the Angels stand, competitively.
That last point is important because Ohtani — a two-way sensation and reigning AL MVP — has a say in where he’ll play after next season. He’s said publicly that winning games is his top priority, which makes it possible — if not obvious — that the Angels are far down his list of preferred suitors.
Let’s just say the next Angels owner accepts that reality and bans Ohtani this season. Which teams are in the best position to land him in a trade? Here are five that come to mind, presented below in order of possibility.
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The Dodgers lured Ohtani out of high school. He chose to play professionally in Japan instead, but the Dodgers are unlikely to have any ill will about his decision. Top executive Andrew Friedman is no stranger to making blockbuster trades, and his best-in-show player development apparatus has armed a war chest of top youngsters to offer him back to the Angels. Dodgers can hang some combination of catcher Diego Guardia; right wingers Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot and Gavin Stone; and infielders Miguel Vargas and Michael Bush. If the Angels choose against moving Ohtani to their biggest geographic rival, that’s a potential complication in the Dodgers’ search.
The Mets have a lot going for them. Owner Steven Cohen has proven time and time again that he’s willing to spend big on top talent; General manager Billy Eppler, the same executive who originally signed Ohtani; And the Mets have several notable youngsters who could float the Angels’ way. That group includes rookie third baseman Brett Petty and catcher Francisco Alvarez, who is one of the game’s top prospects. The Mets could even add one of their first-round picks from last summer, whether it’s catcher Kevin Barada or shortstop Jett Williams. Unlike what Juan Soto talks about, there is no domestic difference to get in the way.
Speaking of those Soto talks, it only makes sense to add one of the other finalists. The Cardinals still have two top prospects in the minors, third baseman/outfielder Jordan Walker and shortstop Mazin Wynn, and they have young players who can serve as secondary parts, including pitchers Cooper Herbe, Gordon Gracefo, Matthew Liberatore. , and Dink therefore. The Cardinals have shown a willingness to pony up in the past, and if Ohtani is serious about prioritizing winning above all else, he could do worse than settling in St. Louis for the long haul.
The Yankees are hard to read in these situations. They would make sense as a landing spot for Ohtani (and then again, most teams would), but the question is, are they willing to part with the prospects they need to make a deal? Although the Yankees thinned their farm-system depth by trading Frankie Montas (and others) at the deadline, they were able to retain short-term prospects Anthony Wolfe and Oswald Peraza. Outfielder Jason Dominguez is in the system, and so are rumors New York was perfect to send him in the right trade. Another factor to consider is how the Aaron Judge talks could affect the Yankees’ long-term financial plans and their willingness to offer another big contract next winter.
There are several teams that could pop up in Ohtani-related rumors this winter. We’re going to limit our drift in the market with a wild card team: The Rangers. If owner Ray Davis and general manager Chris Young want to reverse the John Daniels era, they could make another splash move by adding Ohtani. The Rangers certainly have a chance to make a deal, as their farm system has several notable youngsters such as third baseman Josh Jung; right wingers Jack Leiter, Owen White, Kumar Rocker and Brock Porter; and outfielder Evan Carter. The Rangers being in the same division has the potential to reduce the chances of completing a trade; It’s also possible Young wants to build from within, and Davis doesn’t want to hand over another big contract after getting mixed results from Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. However, if the Rangers are serious about making the proverbial leap, Ohtani should be one of their top targets this winter.
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