Oh my. Oh my. Juan Soto was one thing. And I can’t say Shohei Ohtani is a “whole other thing,” but, I mean, he kinda is? And now they’re BOTH available?!
Here we go:
As Heyman says, a trade getting done here is unlikely – far more unlikely than Soto being dealt – mostly because the Angels just seem to not do that kind of thing. But also, it’s in part because of the unique challenge of valuing Ohtani. He’s a stud at the plate, and a stud on the mound, but it’s not like you can just add those two values together, since he contains them within a single roster spot. He’s singular in every sense of the word.
Not that it doesn’t make SOME sense for the Angels to listen.
Ohtani, 28, is going to be a free agent after next season, and there hasn’t been much in the way of serious rumors on an extension. Unless the Angels want to put another monnnnnnster deal on their books ($400 million? $500 million?), they face the challenge of either dealing Ohtani now, this winter, next deadline, or letting him walk for nothing. And since they’re not going anywhere this year, why wouldn’t they listen now?
Like I said about Juan Soto, of course the Cubs should explore this. They probably won’t, since they are not active buyers now, and you’d be getting just 1.5 years of Ohtani (the 0.5 of which is not useful/impactful to the Cubs). But a player like Ohtani becomes available only so often, and if he does get traded, there will be a very serious risk that he never even reaches free agency.
Stay tuned on whether this turns into a series of actual trade talks. That’s what happened with Soto – it went from rumors that were denied, to yeah-maybe-we’ll-listen, to a very serious chance he’s traded.
My guess? The Angels wanted this rumor out there precisely so that they could be sure to hear from a bunch of teams that might try to blow them away with an offer.
This could really keep the trade works gummed up for a while, especially in conjunction with the ongoing Soto talks. So many teams should be falling all over themselves to try to make a deal here. It’s pretty hard to overstate how impactful Ohtani could be.