Could Shohei Ohtani’s time with the Los Angeles Angels be over by the end of the month? The organization reportedly will examine its options, including a potential trade deadline blockbuster.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported on Friday that the Angels will “consider incoming trade requests” for the 2021 AL MVP, though a trade is still viewed as “unlikely.”
“The club is not ruling out the possibility of a deadline deal, even though the standard to move Ohtani is extraordinarily high,” Morosi wrote. “The team’s performance over the upcoming homestand will be a big consideration in the Angels’ ultimate course. At this point, many in the industry view a trade as unlikely.”
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Ohtani is expected to sign a record-shattering contract this coming offseason, but suitors eager to bring him in now and avoid the free agent sweepstakes could make an offer to the Angels ahead of the Aug. 1 deadline.
The 29-year-old, two-way sensation was the runaway AL MVP frontrunner during the first half of the MLB season. He crushed a league-leading 32 home runs and also has a 3.32 ERA across 17 starts on the mound.
The Angels were 41-33 less than a month ago, but injuries have sent the team back below .500. Mike Trout landed on the injured list, Anthony Rendon has not played since suffering an injury on July 4 and Ohtani exited the same game with his own injury.
L.A. skidded into the break and is 45-46 on the year. The team is five games back of the third and final AL wild card spot, and there are three more teams above them in that race. The Angels are also fourth in the AL West and seven games behind the division-leading Texas Rangers.
As for the aforementioned upcoming homestand, the Angels open the second half of the season with nine straight home games. They will host the Houston Astros on Friday, Saturday and Sunday before welcoming the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates next week.
Deep-pocketed teams like the Yankees, New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers will be among the contenders for Ohtani’s services should he reach free agency. The San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox could also make a push for Ohtani, and countless other teams will be lining up with hopes of landing him.
There are less than three weeks remaining to see whether they – or any team – have the pieces and desire to offer the Angels a trade package enticing enough to convince them to part with an unprecedented player. Otherwise, the Angels could hold onto Ohtani for the rest of the season and risk losing him for nothing more than a draft pick this winter.