The Los Angeles Angels had to make a decision as the trade deadline approached. The team was five games over .500 and was three games back of a playoff spot. The odds were low, but the Angels had their choice of buying and trying to win with their final guaranteed year of Shohei Ohtani, or selling and ensuring themselves of receiving a haul in the event that he left after the season.
The Angels wound up buying, but the team collapsed almost instantly. They lost seven straight after the deadline and never got it going from August 1 until the end of the season. Injuries hurt, but the trades Perry Minasian made didn't exactly age well.
At the time I didn't have an issue with the Angels buying as they really were right in the playoff race and trading Ohtani meant there'd be virtually no shot at re-signing him. Obviously I wish the Angels had a do-over and did things differently.
If Perry Minasian doesn't end up lasting much longer in Anaheim, he'll always look back at the 2023 deadline and wonder what if. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Angels had an offer that had they had the chance to do things differently, they surely would've strongly considered accepting.
Turning down this Tampa Bay Rays proposal for Shohei Ohtani looks very bad in hindsight
"The Tampa Bay Rays were among the teams who were aggressively seeking Shohei Ohtani at the trade deadline, and were willing to offer three of their top 10 prospects, including top prospect Junior Caminero. "- Bob Nightengale - USA Today
Hindsight is 20/20, and as an Angels fan who was fine with the team buying, I can't complain too much about them not trading Shohei Ohtani. After watching how the season collapsed and with the likelihood that Ohtani is now gone, learning that the Angels passed on a package like this from the Rays certainly hurts.
The Angels had the chance to land one of the best prospects in all of baseball, Junior Caminero, in a deal with the Rays at the deadline. Caminero is Tampa Bay's number one prospect and is ranked sixth overall according to MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list. Had Tampa offered him straight up, I think that's something Perry would've had to consider. Hearing from Nightengale that the Rays added on two additional top ten prospects in their organization makes it even harder to process exactly what the Angels missed out on.
The Rays have the seventh best farm system in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline and have two other prospects on the top 100 list. It's unclear as to whether Tampa Bay was willing to include one of those other top 100 guys in this Ohtani deal, but there was still a whole lot of talent for the Angels to choose from.
Watching Ohtani in Tampa Bay and likely eliminating any chance the Angels had at bringing him back wouldn't be ideal, but getting a player like Caminero along with two other high-end prospects would've made things a whole lot better. The Rays infielder just turned 20 years old and would fit in perfectly as the third baseman of the future for the Angels. He earned a late-season promotion to the majors after slashing .324/.384/.591 with 31 home runs and 94 RBI in A+ and AA this season.
The only thing that'll make passing on this Ohtani deal worth the Angels while is if they somehow find a way to re-sign him this offseason.