All of the talk when it comes to free agency this offseason has centered around Shohei Ohtani, and for good reason. Ohtani is the best player in the game, and will sign the most expensive contract in MLB history. Where he ends up and how much is of course going to interest most fans, even if they're not fans of the Los Angeles Angels or any other team in the running.
While Ohtani is dominating the free agency headlines, Juan Soto has been dominating the trade market. The Padres are looking to cut payroll after a wildly disappointing 2023 season, and the easiest way for them to do that is by trading Soto, a free agent after the year, away.
With the Padres set to lose arms like Blake Snell, Michael Wacha, Seth Lugo, and Josh Hader to free agency, they need to add as many arms as possible this offseason so they can try and compete in 2024.
The Yankees have been the team linked to Soto, but they appear hesitant to pull the trigger on the asking price for Soto's services. It wouldn't come cheap for the Angels, but this is their chance to swoop in and steal one of the best players in the game.
Yankees give the LA Angels a golden opportunity to execute a Juan Soto trade
The asking price San Diego has in a Juan Soto trade is not cheap, obviously, but is one the Angels can meet right now. Michael King looked impressive as a starter to finish the year, but made just nine starts. Pitchers like Patrick Sandoval and Reid Detmers who have more team control and are more proven in that role should have more value than King.
While the Angels lack a pitching prospect that measures up to Drew Thorpe, a guy like Caden Dana, who is a bit further away but has potential, could pique their interest. Some combination of Sandoval, Dana, and a couple of other pieces could potentially convince A.J. Preller to make a deal.
The Angels need pitching, obviously, but making a trade for a 25-year-old with a career .946 OPS should be a no-brainer if the Angels actually have the pieces for it.
The reason to not make this kind of deal is because of Soto's expiring contract status, but the Angels can offer him a boatload of money in an extension and see if he'll bite. If not, they can do the same in free agency and hope he stays. It's hard to win without risk. This would undoubtedly be one, but it does feel worthwhile depending on the package.
As much as the Angels want to keep Shohei Ohtani around, chances are he's going to sign elsewhere. What better way to go about filling that void than by swinging a Soto trade? He's not Ohtani. Nobody is. But this is one way to go about getting the franchise back on track. For the right package, it's something Perry Minasian has to consider.