Juan Soto has been the superstar available on the market the past few weeks, and while the Yankees have likely taken a backseat in a potential acquisition, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani could be an alternative if general manager Brian Cashman is going to give up the farm.
The Angels are struggling considerably this season to get anything going, and with the Yankees desperately needing another starting pitcher for the rotation, why not go for one of the best in baseball if Los Angeles is willing to sell.
According to John Heyman of the New York Post, the chances of Ohtani being traded are “very slim,” with the asking price being a team’s top four prospects. However, the Yankees would be getting a superstar at two different positions at 28 years old.
The 6’4″, 210-pound lefty slugger is hitting .251 the season with a 34.6% on-base rate, 22 homers, and 62 RBIs. He features a 23% strikeout rate and 11.8% walk rate with a 130 wRC+.
Ohtani is one of the best players in baseball, but he’s a lethal hitter that would provide plenty of value in the Yankees’ batting order.
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The Yankees would have an elite pitcher and hitter to utilize:
As a pitcher, Ohtani has already won nine games this season, recording a 2.81 ERA over 99.1 innings pitched. He has 145 strikeouts, on pace to beat his best of 156 in 2021.
Ohtani hosts a 13.14 strikeouts per nine rate with an 80.8% left on base rate and 39% ground ball rate. His 12% HR/FB ratio is a bit high, but he features a lethal sequence of pitches. Ohtani has a fastball that averages 97.3 mph, a slider, cutter, curveball, and split-finger fastball.
Ohtani was noncommittal to the Angels when asked about the desire to play for a winning team. Obviously, the Yankees would represent a massive upgrade over the Angels, who currently have a 43–58 record and sit 22.5 games back from the Houston Astros in the AL West.
To even get things started, Cashman would have to include Anthony Volpe, Jasson Dominguez, and several other elite prospects. Ohtani is currently on a two-year, $8.5 million deal before he hits free agency in 2024. He’s going to land a huge contract extension, but the Yankees would at least get one more year of cheap play out of the superstar.