The Los Angeles Angels will have a difficult decision to make regarding Shohei Ohtani's future. They can trade Shohei Ohtani and capitalize on his value this offseason. They can make a last ditch effort to sign him to a monstrous extension to pair him with Mike Trout as Angels for life. Or they could roll the dice and hope the Angels make a playoff push and Ohtani stays after the season.
The first two options are what make sense in my mind. If an extension is not agreed upon with Ohtani, the Angels have to trade him to avoid the risk of him getting hurt and ruining his trade value, and not getting anything for him at all.
One of the main competitors for Ohtani's services will likely be the New York Mets. One of SNY's writers Danny Abriano laid out a potential package for the superstar.
This Angels rumor is one that makes sense, but I don't love the deal.
The Mets make sense as a potential trade partner with the Angels. Whoever trades for Ohtani will likely want to extend him. The Mets surely have the money to do so. Whoever trades for Ohtani will have to be competitive. Despite an exit in the Wild Card round the Mets won 101 games. With Ohtani, they'd likely be even better.
The Mets have the prospect capital the Angels would want as well. They have a very top-heavy farm system but have very appealing prospects that any team would want.
Here's the proposal Abriano laid out:
The Mets would be offering Brett Baty (18th ranked prospect according to MLB.com), Alex Ramirez or Kevin Parada, (#85 and 37 overall prospects respectively), and two other prospects. For those other prospects, Abriano suggests one top 11-15 organizational prospect and one unranked prospect.
Abriano uses the Trea Turner and Max Scherzer trade at the 2021 deadline from the Nationals to the Dodgers as a blueprint, where the Dodgers sent top prospects Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray to Washington.
I think comparing this trade to that one does make some sense, but it's very hard to base an Ohtani trade off of any deal because he's such an unusual player. We have never and will never see anyone like him again.
I think the value here is solid. Baty projects as a star third-baseman who can really hit but struggles defensively. The only issue with him is the Angels have Anthony Rendon locked up for four more years and don't have a way out of that contract. Plugging Rendon as the everyday DH doesn't make too much sense to me right now.
Alex Ramirez is a very raw but talented outfielder. He has tremendous speed and power and has been shooting up the prospect ranks. He won't be MLB-ready until at least 2024 and is the kind of player (like Jo Adell) that the Angels have struggled to develop.
Kevin Parada is an exciting catching prospect who was the first-round pick selected by the Mets in the 2022 MLB Draft. Evaluators aren't certain Parada will remain behind the plate but the bat is very good. The flaw with Parada is he won't be ready until 2025 according to mlb.com.
The Mets have the number one overall prospect in all of baseball in Francisco Alvarez who just debuted this season and has superstar potential. I know the Angels just traded for Logan O'Hoppe but Los Angeles making an Ohtani trade and not even getting the best prospect in the organization he's traded to is not ideal. Even if it lessens the rest of the package, the Angels sticking firm on Alvarez
I get that Ohtani is a free agent after the year and the Mets likely won't be allowed to negotiate an extension with Ohtani before a trade would be completed but with owner Steve Cohen's money and Ohtani's connection to Mets GM Billy Eppler plus a winning environment, I would be shocked if Ohtani doesn't end up staying after the season ends anyway.
Furthermore, the Mets won't be the only bidders here. I expect many teams to be in on Ohtani and that will only drive the price up more. This Angels trade rumor is a good starting point, but I think the Angels can and will do better than this if an Ohtani trade does in fact happen.