Could the Los Angeles Angels shock the baseball world this upcoming trade deadline? Should L. A. consider the unthinkable and trade away their phenom Shohei Ohtani?
Losing Mike Trout earlier in the year to injury really put a damper, to say the least on the 2021 Angels hopes they currently sit at 36-38 and are in 4th place 9.0 games behind the Houston Astros. On the bright side, Shohei Ohtani has put on a show and could be on his way to winning the A.L MVP award. In 2021, Ohtani is enjoying a terrific campaign he has a slash line of .265/.351/.633, 23 home runs which put him one behind the league leader, Vladimir Guerrero jr who has 24 in 2021.
On the pitching side, Ohtani has been magnificent, he owns an era of just 2.58 and has punched out 82 batters in 59.1 innings this gives him a cool 12.4 K/9 opponents are hitting .188/.305/.314 off of him.
If the Angels were to consider trading away such a huge piece to their current team, they will most likely need to be blown away by an offer that comes their way. However, we will need to consider two factors in a potential deal.
Number one, who has the deepest farm system because any team who would want the slightest shot at Ohtani better have the goods to start talks. The other major factor to a deal is who is in contention and would need, or would like to, add such a big name to their roster? Well, that may be hard to figure out seeing as only a small amount of teams are in contention currently and have a deep farm system.
MLB top farm systems according to MLB.com
- #1 Tampa Bay Rays #1 prospect- Wander Franco #1 overall prospect
- #2 Detroit Tigers #1 prospect- Spencer Torkelson #3 overall prospect
- #3 Seattle Mariners #1 prospect- Jarred Kelenic #4 overall prospect
- #4 Miami Marlins #1 prospect- Sixto Sanchez #15 overall prospect
- #5 Baltimore Orioles #1 prospect- Adley Rutschman #2 overall prospect
Out of these top five systems, only one team is in any sort of contending spot. They reign from the sunshine state in Florida, and they are none other than the Tampa Bay Rays. They could definitely use a bat and arm of Ohtani’s caliber, but just for fun let’s throw one more team on that list. The number six overall farm system in baseball.
- #6 San Diego Padres #1 prospect- Mackenzie Gore #6 overall prospect
We will get back to the Rays in a minute, but just for fun, can you imagine if the Padres and their gm A.J Preller could find a way to bring Showtime himself to an already stacked team in San Diego! A rotation that already has Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, and last but not least, the author of the only no-hitter in Padres history, Joe Musgrove! Adding Ohtani to that mix if you have the luxury to place him in a line-up that already has Fernando Tatis jr, Manny Machado, Jake Cronenworth, etc., that would almost guarantee a World Series appearance.
Now, we all know that to get something, or in this case someone of value you must give up value. I truly believe that if any deal were to get done, the team getting Shohei will need to empty their farm. Any deal will include the team’s #1 prospect Mackenzie Gore, and for good measure, the Padres would need to make room for Ohtani, so you could see Trent Grisham head to L.A in the deal. Cj Abrahams and Luis Campusano would most likely be the finishing touches.
I know it seems like a lot to any Padres’ fan, but I’m not a betting man and if you could potentially see a world series championship, you make that deal nine times out of ten. You don’t even know if the prospect will pan out at the end of the day, so why not go all-in for a once-in-a-lifetime player?
Now back to the team in the sunshine state. Now, the reigning A.L champions the Rays. Tampa Bay has had a tremendous season they currently sit atop the American league east and have a lineup that just plain and simple know-how to hit, potential rookie of the year, Randy Arozarena, Brandon Lowe, Kevin Kiermaier, and Austin Meadows are just a few names that can carry this offense add Ohtani to this team and they will win it all in 2021.
Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, they were hit by the injury bug in a big way when they lost their ace, Tyler Glasnow. Now in a rotation that has Rich Hill, Ryan Yarbrough, Michael Wacha, and Chris Archer. Tampa will need to look long and hard at starting pitching if they wish to have a storybook ending that they were so close to in 2020.
Now, the return to Los Angeles may not be one that Ray fans would like to forfeit, but to win a ring-like we mentioned about San Diego fans earlier may be the only way. Notice how I did not mention the #1 overall prospect, Wander Franco in the “stacked” line-up, yeah that’s because the number one overall prospect would be suiting up for L.A in any potential deal. To get talks started, Franco would need to be included. The Rays would still be covered at shortstop with Taylor Walls and later on Vidal Brujan. Also heading to L.A would-be Luis Patino and Shane Baz,
Again, this return seems ridiculous, and I realize it is most likely a pipe dream, or what is known as an MLB the Show trade. If you look at the Angels’ current situation and these two contenders, if a deal were to come to fruition one day, this may be a good way to get talks started.