While a lot of the talk around the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes — whether that be on the trade market this month or in free agency this winter — has been centered around the New York Mets, the crosstown-rival Yankees could very well be lurking.
And doing so with plenty of malice.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reported on Thursday that the Yankees “could potentially be the most motivated,” (h/t Talkin’ Yanks) to make a play for the Los Angeles Angels superstar in the final two-and-a-half weeks leading up to Major League Baseball’s Aug. 1 trade deadline.
“Gerrit Cole, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, these are middle-aged players right in the prime of their careers,” Olney said. “This is the Yankees’ window to win now.”
Ohtani would undoubtedly skyrocket the Yankees’ hopes of getting back in the conversation as a legitimate World Series contender this season as they currently sit in fourth place in the AL East and one game back of the final AL Wild Card spot as they wait for Aaron Judge to return from his toe injury.
Not only would Ohtani provide a shock to the system of a suddenly-stale lineup, but he’d bolster a pitching rotation that could use a legitimate No. 2 behind Cole while Nestor Cortes has regressed and Luis Severino struggles.
Of course, it still remains to be seen if Angels general manager Perry Minasian will actually entertain trade talks this month — and it comes down to how his club performs.
Toward the end of June, Minasian said that it would be unlikely that he would trade Ohtani “with where [we’re] at in the standings.” But the Angels struggled down the stretch before the All-Star break and are without Mike Trout as he recovers from hamate bone surgery.
Los Angeles is in fourth place in the AL West, seven games behind the division-leading Texas Rangers and five games back of the Toronto Blue Jays for the final Wild Card spot.
Should the early-July swoon bleed into their post-All-Star-break play, perhaps the Manisian begins entertaining calls for Ohtani. Then the ball will be in Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner’s court to throw together a king’s ransom for one of the greatest talents the game has ever seen.