The Los Angeles Angels haven't shown any inclination toward trading superstar Shohei Ohtani, but if the team slips out of contention, it may be the only move to salvage the future of the franchise. What could the Halos demand in a possible trade?
For as gifted as Ohtani is on the field, he may be even more enigmatic off it, at least when it comes to his intentions this offseason. Team owner Arte Moreno has seemed unwilling to trade Ohtani, even as the Angels fanbase clamors for a deal with the assumption Ohtani walks in a few months anyway.
Buster Olney recently mentioned the Yankees as the top potential suitor for Ohtani, and a deal between the top teams could make sense. In order to give up the talent the Angels would demand, the Yankees would have to feel good about Ohtani signing an extension to stay in the Bronx long-term, but that isn't the Angels problem. They can ask for the moon, and they should.
If the Angels do begin trade discussions with the Yankees, the smart bet is that they go after a handful of the Yankees most talented young players to build for the future, rather than established veterans that could help the team stay in contention in the short-term. Let's look at three of the most attractive options.
1) Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe
Ever since being drafted in the first round by the Yankees in 2019, Volpe has been on the fast track to being the next big thing in New York. The 22-year-old rookie has endured many of the ups and downs that one would expect from a rookie playing under the bright lights of Yankee Stadium, but with 13 home runs and 16 stolen bases, he's shown a combination of power and speed that would help ease the sting of losing Ohtani.
Angels fans know that they already have a promising young rookie at short in Zach Neto, but either he or Volpe could be moved to second base with little issue. Current second baseman David Fletcher has seen his production decline three years in a row, and he was even sent down to AAA for a spell earlier this year. Fletcher could move to a utility role, or be sent back down again to make room for what would be the most dynamic young middle infield in the majors.