Shohei Ohtani’s availability is going to be the biggest story of the 2023 MLB trade deadline. The New York Yankees might be paying closer attention than anyone. If the Los Angeles Angels decide to pursue offers for Shohei Ohtani, the Yankees will have the most motivation to complete a trade for the two-way star, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
The Yankees’ motivation to trade for Ohtani stems from the timeline of their best players, Olney said on “Get Up.” Because stars like Gerrit Cole, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are in their 30s and no longer at the beginning of their prime, the Yankees have an urgency to win in the 2023 season. New York’s championship window is now, and adding Ohtani could significantly increase the team’s chances of winning this year’s World Series.
Buster Olney thinks the Yankees will be the main team trying to trade for Shohei Ohtani this season pic.twitter.com/InU9kivynS
— Talkin’ Yanks (@TalkinYanks) July 13, 2023
With Ohtani on the roster, the Yankees would arguably sport the best one-two punch in the rotation and their lineup. Cole started the 2023 MLB All-Star Game. Judge had a 1.078 OPS before getting hurt. Ohtani is an All-Star-caliber pitcher and could potentially threaten Judge’s AL Home Run record.
It might be difficult for the Yankees to make a 2023 World Series run without a major addition at the trade deadline. New York starts the second half of the season in fourth place in the AL East, trailing the first-place Tampa Bay Rays by eight games. The Yankees are a game behind the Houston Astros for the third and final AL wild-card spot.
There is still no timeline for Judge’s return. The Yankees’ lineup has been one of the worst in baseball with the reigning AL MVP sidelined because of a toe injury. New York fired hitting coach Dillon Lawson right before the All-Star break
The Angels have maintained that they don’t plan to trade Ohtani. That could certainly change, given his impending free agency and Los Angeles’ place in the standings The Angels have lost nine out of their last 10 games and fallen below .500.
A trade package for Ohtani would likely have to include a few of the Yankees’ top prospects. Ohtani is the best player in baseball and cruising toward his second AL MVP award in three years. Ohtani was the runner-up to Judge in last year’s voting.
The Rays and Texas Rangers could also be motivated to trade for Ohtani if he becomes available, according to Olney.
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