With just a few days to go before the August 2nd trade deadline the Blue Jays have been quiet, but there is plenty of time and some serious moves to contemplate.
According to Jon Heyman of the MLB network, the biggest star yet may have just hit the trade block as the Angels are apparently willing to listen to offers for Shohei Ohtani right now. The two-way superstar is doing things in baseball that we literally haven’t been seen since Babe Ruth, and it’s hard to argue against him being the most valuable player in the American League these days. It takes a lot to take the spotlight off of Juan Soto as far as trade rumours go, but if Ohtani is legitimately on the block then it could absolutely happen over the next few days.
It’s hard to know how serious the Angels are about shopping their prized two-way star, but it would make sense that they would consider it. The Japanese phenom has one more year after this season before he’ll be an unrestricted free agent, and it sounds like the Angels aren’t sure if they can afford to re-sign him when they already have long-term commitments to veteran stars like Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. They’re also not going to be competing in this year’s playoff race unless something drastic changes, and with Trout hitting the sidelines after being diagnosed with a rare back condition, it’s understandable if they’re thinking about hitting the re-set button in L.A. these days.
According to Heyman’s report, it sounds like the ask could be similar to what we’ve heard about the demands around a Juan Soto trade. The phrase “top four prospects” was used, but of course that means something different for every team. The Blue Jays have one of the better farm systems in baseball, especially at the top when you include the number one prospect according to Baseball America in Gabriel Moreno (subscription required). When you add other top 100 prospects like Orelvis Martinez, Ricky Tiedeman, and Jordan Groshans, the Blue Jays would have a pretty significant bid if they met the ask.
Would they do something like that though? If they were going to make an “all-in” kinda move, it’s hard to imagine a better fit than Ohtani. He would provide that long-coveted left-handed bat, and it wouldn’t just be any ol’ bat either. We’re talking about one of the most dangerous hitters in the world, and you’d be adding him to one of the best offences in baseball.
Then there’s what he’s been doing on the mound this year, which has been arguably more impressive than his hitting as a big leaguer. Ohtani is really hitting his stride as a legitimate MLB ace, and adding him to a trio of Alek Manoah, Kevin Gausman, and Jose Berrios would give the Blue Jays a legitimate claim to the best playoff rotation in the league.
That kinda two for one value simply can’t be found with any other player, and it makes sense that the Angels would ask for as much as they can possibly get in return for the 28 year old. As much as Soto’s 2.5 years of contract control have their appeal, I can see the double-dip value of a player like Ohtani making for an even most intense trade market.
Will the Blue Jays get involved? It’s honestly hard to say. This isn’t the type of trade that I would have expected from them in the past, but I feel like Ross Atkins and the front office group are ready to take a big swing toward a championship if the right opportunity presents itself. It’s hard to imagine a better one than this, so don’t be surprised if the Blue Jays are among the rumoured bidders.
Even if I tend to lean toward favouring a “sustainable winner” kinda build, I’m not sure I could resist the chance to add Ohtani to the Blue Jays if it were up to me.