The trade deadline is fast approaching. It is just two weeks away. The sellers are starting to be identified. One of those teams is likely to be the Los Angeles Angels. They are 2-8 in their last ten games. They are now nine games behind the Rangers in the AL West and they are 5.5 games back of the last wild card spot. Jon Paul Morosi tweeted this out about the Angels and their star two-way player Shohei Ohtani.
Buster Olney was also asked about Ohtani on Get Up on ESPN last week and he made mention about how Texas would be involved. Jim Bowden of The Athletic has Texas as one of his teams that will be involved in trade talks.
I have seen many conversations on Facebook and Twitter. This is how they normally go. Someone writes a post or a tweet about trading for Ohtani, the next person says I am not decimating the farm for a rental, the next person says if we can extend him then I would do that, and it goes back and forth on the extreme cost and what it would take to extend Ohtani.
The facts of an Ohtani trade are that it would take a lot to trade for him, he would give the Rangers a better shot to win and advance in October, and the chances of extending him are slim and none. Not for the reasons you might think. In this article I want to go over why extending him is not likely and why it has really nothing to do with Othani and more to do with the Angels
Hypothetical Trade for Ohtani and extension talks with Texas
We are going to game out an Ohtani trade. The first step would be Texas and Los Angeles to agree to a trade prior to August 1st. Say that July 31st they agree to a trade, players are agreed upon and both teams are happy. Texas can then request a window through the MLB offices in conjunction with the Angels to negotiate an extension with Ohtani. The trade would be tied to an extension being agreed to. The Rangers would then have till the deadline set by the MLB offices to sign Ohtani or the trade would be voided. Again, this is if the Angels accept the trade with enough time left before the deadline to negotiate a new contract.
The Angels have no motivation whatsoever to help Texas or any other team negotiate a new contract with Ohtani. Their only motivation should be in making the Angels a more competitive team in the future. If they let teams know Ohtani is available I cannot imagine a trade being agreed to prior to the hours before the deadline. The Angels will be trying to get as much as they can and other teams will be waiting to see if the Angels' price comes down. It will be a staring contest between the teams involved and the Angels to see who blinks first.
Curt Schilling trade to Boston
A famous example of an exclusive negotiating window being exercised was back in November 2003. The Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks had agreed to a trade to bring Curt Schilling to Boston. Schilling had a no-trade clause and was not going to waive it without signing a contract extension. MLB granted the Red Sox a 72-hour window over the Thanksgiving holidays. They negotiated through that time period and it nearly did not come together. They had one last session right before the deadline, requested and was granted an extra 24-hours by the MLB offices, and then came to an agreement and the rest is bloody history.
The major difference with this and Ohtani is that the Schilling trade was in the offseason and the deadline was artificial. The August 1st trade deadline is a hard deadline where if everything is not wrapped up and submitted to the MLB offices then it does not get done.
What are the chances Texas lands Ohtani?
I would probably say less than 10%. Chris Young could absolutely put together a good enough offer to get the Angels to say yes. If he put Evan Carter, Sebastian Walcott, Owen White, and Luisangel Acuna on the table, the Angels would probably say yes.
There are two things I do not see happening in these potential trade negotiations. The first is the Angels trading Ohtani within the division. Second, the Angels trading Ohtani across town to the Dodgers. I would not be surprised if Ohtani ends up in the National League maybe with Cincinatti, Miami, or San Francisco.
I also think there is a strong possibility that the Angels pursue a trade to send Ohtani out and their owner Arte Moreno backs out at the last minute. Moreno this past offseason went through this charade of selling the Angels and took offers, but then before anything could be agreed to, he decided to keep the team. I think he will allow his GM Perry Minasian to talk trade and go down that path. I think Moreno as reported by Ken Rosenthal is hesitant on being the owner who traded away one of the best players this game has ever seen.
Finally, just keep this in mind. Ohtani at this point is not available in trade as reported by Buster Olney, Jon Paul Morosi, and Ken Rosenthal. If any team agrees to trade for Ohtani they do the trade knowing there will very likely be no extension. One because the Angels are not going to accommodate that and two because Ohtani will want to go to the market for the first and maybe only time in his career.