The Los Angeles Angels are once again in a familiar spot of entering the MLB Trade Deadline with a generational talent and next to no playoff hopes.
After a hot start to the season that looked like their fate would be different this season, they quickly dropped off, which has led to speculation of a potential Shohei Ohtani trade.
While the Angels have said they would shut down Ohtani trade discussions, the club is reportedly listening to offers, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
However, Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports believes Ohtani is too essential to the Angels’ business operation for them to move him this season, he said on Swing Shift with Ryan & Beau:
“Think about all the international partnerships that are attached to Ohtani being an Angel. I just don’t see that being an option for them right now. Because you just think about all the advertising you see at Angel Stadium, all of the rights agreements to have the Angels games shown in Japan, and then all of a sudden, he’s gone in the middle of the season? I just think that’s just too hard for me to believe.”
Despite the Angels denying their openness to moving Ohtani, rival teams have still been checking in on his availability. That means if the Angels would be willing to move him, they could get a historic return of prospects that would rebuild their farm system and potentially allow them to compete in the future:
“Now, we can argue and say, from a standpoint of optimizing your roster, should they trade him? I think from a pure baseball standpoint, they should. But as we all know, there’s a business aspect of this that overrides everything. And I just don’t think the business aspect of it is going to work. So I just cannot see it being something that comes out on the side of ‘Yeah, let’s trade Ohtani.’ Trading him would be such a dramatic move that I just don’t see it being plausible. And I would say he stays there at least through the season.”
Ohtani has repeatedly stated that his main goal is to win, and in his five years with the Angels, he hasn’t done much of that. The team has a .460 win percentage since 2018, and has not once been over .500 or come even close to a playoff berth.
If Ohtani’s goal is to play for a World Series contender, the Angels are running out of time to prove that he can do that in Anaheim. And if he truly decides that winning is the most important thing — in turn deciding to leave the Angels — it may be smart for them to find a trade partner sooner rather than later.
Teams hesitant to trade for Noah Syndergaard
Noah Syndergaard, who signed a one-year, $21 million contract this past offseason, likely has the best chance of any Angels player to be traded.
The right-hander has put up respectable numbers this season but he is not the same dominant pitcher he once was for the New York Mets. Syndergaard’s diminishing stuff has also concerned teams to the point where the Angels may ultimately hold onto him past the trade deadline.