Yankees emerge as potential favorite for Shohei Ohtani if Angels sell at the deadline

Alexander Wilson
shohei ohtani, yankees, angels
Jul 31, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) singles in the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Yankees want to acquire another outfielder and star pitcher, they shouldn’t look any further than Shohei Ohtani from the Los Angeles Angels. Acquiring Ohtani would likely cost far less than a mega Juan Soto deal, considering the 28-year-old pitcher is set to hit free agency in 2024.

The Nationals currently have team control over Soto until 2025, which would give any team that acquires him a substantial amount of years without extending him on a monster contract.

While the Yankees are no longer favorites to land Soto, they have emerged as potential suitors for Ohtani, given the Angels decide to sell at the deadline.

According to Jim Bowden of The Athletic, the Angels could still sell on Shotei Ohtani:

At this stage, I think he stays put, at least until the winter, but you never know. The Yankees, Dodgers, Padres, Blue Jays and Cardinals would be the most likely destinations if Ohtani is somehow traded before the deadline.

What would Ohtani bring to the Yankees?

This season, Ohtani is hitting .255 with a 35.2% on-base rate and a .495 slugging percentage, with 22 homers and 62 RBIs. He features a 135 wRC+, indicating he’s 35% better than the average MLB player. He’s earned a career-low 22.8% strikeout rate and a 12.2% walk rate, enjoying a 21.6% HR/FB ratio. As a lefty batter, he would be able to leverage the short right porch in Yankee Stadium.

As a pitcher, though, Ohtani has earned a 2.81 ERA and 2.30 xFIP, with 13.14 strikeouts per 9 over 99.1 innings.

In other words, Ohtani is having a tremendous season as a starter, boasting a 4-seam fastball, slider, split-finger fastball, curveball, and cutter. His fastball averages out at 97.3 mph with a 20% WHIFF rate and 14.6 inches of vertical drop. However, his splitter stands out with 31.7 inches of vertical drop, a .130 batting average against, and a 52.1% WHIFF rate.

The Bombers wouldn’t just be getting a star-studded pitcher but one of the best sluggers in baseball, fitting their mantra perfectly.

The Angels likely wouldn’t budge unless a team was giving up multiple top prospects, but the Yankees could simply just wait until his free agency to offer him an extension instead of renting him for the rest of 2022 and the 2023 season.

Negotiations would have to start with Anthony Volpe, a player, the Yankees, are desperately trying to hang onto at the deadline.