Could a new Angels GM think about trading Shohei Ohtani?
By Luke Graham
With a new General Manager set to come in for the Angels, could they possibly make a huge early move and trade Shohei Ohtani?
Another year has come and gone and this time it hurt worse than usual. Billy Eppler was relieved of his duties as General Manager and now the Los Angeles Angels are in search of a new guy to lead the front office and put together the final pieces to get the Angels to the playoffs. I love Shohei Ohtani, but with a new general manager coming in and the Angels needing pitching, Shohei Ohtani could be on the move.
Ohtani is awesome, I personally love the guy if we’re being honest and see so much potential in his future but not on the mound. The Angels need pitching more than anything and Shohei Ohtani just does not seem like he can be a part of the rotation consistently moving forward. With a lineup consisting of Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, David Fletcher, and Jo Adell and Jared Walsh both looked to show positive signs for the future this year, maybe it’s time to consider getting some pitching for Ohtani.
Here are some scenarios:
The White Sox are loaded with pitching and Dane Dunning is a guy I can see them letting go. While a reliever and maybe another prospect would need to be involved in this, Dunning is a guy I can see helping the Angels and being under control for the future. According to MLB.com, he is their fifth-best prospect and the White Sox have the fourth-best farm system.
Dunning went 2-0 through 7 starts this year and had a sub 4.00 ERA. If the White Sox get Ohtani then they can save money in not picking up Edwin Encarnacion’s team option. Ohtani could fill in at first, outfield and DH every day for them at the least. The Angels get pitching help and the White Sox get another bat under team control.
The Mets have Noah Syndergaard coming off of Tommy John surgery and he will be a free agent after the 2021 season. Thor coming off of TJ is said to be expected back for 2021 and will be a free agent after the 2021 season, so the Mets may be willing to talk him more than deGrom.
Throwing in Edwin Diaz in this deal is not a far fetched idea either. A career-worst ERA of 5.59 in 2019 before having a bounce-back season this year, he still blew three of his nine save attempts. Changing up his scenery could rejuvenate his career and put back in his old division which he dominated in Seattle. Diaz still has a couple of years of arbitration left before hitting the free-agent market and if he could find his way back to being a top bullpen guy, then it could really help the Angels finish out games.
Kyle Freeland from the Rockies has been all over the place and I personally think that pitching in Colorado is not helping his cause. A Cy-Young candidate in 2018, he was sent back down to the minors in 2019. His splits on FanGraphs.com show he was better on the road this year than at home and he had more strikeouts in fewer innings as the away pitcher as well.
Ohtani is too valuable to give up just for Freeland, due to his inconsistencies which is another reason they could pull this deal off and come out ahead. Because of this, adding another prospect from Colorado could happen. A promising pitching prospect for the future, lefty Ben Bowden who was projected to see the show this year would be a nice addition to the farm.
There are plenty of pitchers in this year’s free-agent market such as Marcus Stroman and Trevor Bauer. More than likely, the Los Angeles Angels will hold on to Shohei Ohtani and pitch him next season. However, a new general manager is coming in and anything can happen with that. Jared Walsh looks like he is going to play first and Brandon Marsh is the Angels top prospect and was expected in The Show this year if it wasn’t for the shortened season.
With Marsh on the come up and Trout and Adell filling out the rest of the outfield, I just don’t see Ohtani playing out there. Ohtani is the most logical piece to trade to finally put some legit arms in the rotation and or bullpen to give them a chance to win now.
I don’t see Ohtani being traded, but he would more than likely receive the most return value and it would not hurt the team near as bad as getting rid of Fletcher’s glove or Rendon’s experience. This is nothing more than food for thought and hypothetical offseason trades are some of the most fun things to do for sports fans. Whatever the new general manager does, I just hope that it works this time.