The Los Angeles Angels have won five games in a row to improve to 52-50 on the season. Despite being eight games back of first place Texas in the AL West and four games back of the third Wild Card spot, the chances of the team actually trading Shohei Ohtani at this point are slim.
We can argue all we want about whether the Angels should trade him or shouldn't. If they address important needs at the deadline I think they realistically can squeak into the postseason. Once you're in, you never know. The argument about trading him and not wanting to risk losing Ohtani for nothing in free agency is also a very valid one.
The Angels should either be going all in to try and win with Ohtani here, or they should trade him for a monster haul. Those feel like the only solutions. Sam Blum of The Athletic (subscription required) came up with a third idea for what the Angels should do, and let's just say, it's not a good one.
LA Angels writer details exactly what should not happen if the team trades Shohei Ohtani
It's important to note this scenario is purely hypothetical. Blum acknowledges that it's not going to happen, but it's good for the Angels to know exactly what they should not do.
In this article, Blum suggests the idea of the Angels trading Ohtani and forcing the team that acquires him to take on both Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout. The Angels would be getting nothing more than a minimal prospect in return. On the surface, adding Trout would be something any team would dream of. Even Rendon if he ever got healthy you can argue he'd be a great third baseman to add.
The issue is the money here. Trout is making $35.45 million annually through the 2030 season. With his decline in play this season and lengthy injury history, that's not an appealing contract to take on. I won't say he has negative value, but he certainly doesn't have the value he had just a couple of years ago.
Rendon is making $38 million annually through the 2026 season and is on arguably the worst contract in the game. With his even steeper decline in play and lack of availability, Rendon has negative trade value.
The team that acquires those two would be taking on two long, massive contracts. That eliminates most of the league right there. Only teams like the Mets, Dodgers, Phillies, and maybe Giants would even think about taking these guys on.
The argument Blum makes for the Angels doing this would be to clear money out and start fresh. The Angels have a nice crop of young players to build around, and doing so with hundreds of millions of dollars to spend does sound appealing. My issue with this strategy is it just opens them up to run into the same mistakes that have plagued them during the entire Arte Moreno era.
Signing stars is a great thing. They seem to all fall off a cliff after joining the Angels. Rendon was the best position player on a team that won the World Series before joining the Angels. Albert Pujols was arguably the best hitter on the planet before joining the Angels. You're going to clear this money just to lock yourselves into more bad contracts right after doing so?
If the Angels do trade Ohtani it needs to be just him. Or packaging him with players the acquiring team values. Do not use one of the best trade chips of all time just to clear money out.