New York Yankees Need to Avoid Selling the Farm for Generational Talent
The best player in baseball might be available on the trade market in 2023.
You rarely see a situation like this unfold in Major League Baseball. Shohei Ohtani, two-way phenom for the Los Angeles Angels, may be available for teams to acquire at the 2023 Trade Deadline. The asking price for Ohtani will be astronomical, and when the season ends, he will most likely become a free agent, at which point any team will be able to sign him.
But it's Ohtani, right? You have to offer the Sun and the Moon if you get the chance to trade for him, right?
If you're the Yankees, the answer should be: wrong.
A Shohei Ohtani Trade, While Exciting, is Irresponsible for the Yankees
The baseball world was taken by storm on Thursday morning, when ESPN baseball analyst (and friend of The Drive with Charlie and Dan) Buster Olney appeared on ESPN's morning show, Get Up.
During his appearance, Olney had this to say about a possible Shohei Ohtani trade:
Naturally, the baseball world lost their collective minds. Though Buster Olney was not claiming that the Yankees would go after Ohtani, the mere mention of Shohei Ohtani and New York in the same sentence sent fans off the rails on Thursday.
Though this move would undoubtedly be exciting, this is not the right move for the New York Yankees at this current time.
For one, the asking price will be astronomical in order to acquire this player. Bleacher Report said a possible package could send SS Anthony Volpe, OF Jasson Domínguez, OF Spencer Jones to the Angels, and one would have to imagine that the team would want a pitching prospect added to that deal, as well.
Also, though his skill set fits all 30 MLB lineups, he will only play DH when he doesn't pitch. The Yankees have multiple players who can, and need, to play DH on a near-daily basis. They also have a deep pitching rotation, so while Ohtani's skills would be nice to have they have other needs they need to address.
Instead, I echo my colleague Charlie Voelker, who wrote earlier this week that the Yankees should focus their efforts on Juan Soto, instead. Soto is a left-handed hitting outfielder, who will be under team control for another season after 2023.
The asking price will be in a similar range, but in acquiring Soto, you address your left field conundrum once-and-for-all, and you know that you won't lose him in free agency after the conclusion of this year.
Yes, an Ohtani trade would be massive, and he'd help the Yankees (and any team) in their pursuit of a World Series. That said, Brian Cashman would benefit from focusing his efforts, and his assets, in other directions this Trade Deadline season.