New York Yankees emerge as primary candidate for landing Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani of the Angels is a trade target for the Yankees.

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The Yankees got a first-hand experience of why they need Shohei Ohtani in the very first game of the series against the Angels. As manager Aaron Boone erred in walking him on Sunday, the two-way star blasted a moonshot that turn the tide against the Yankees and eventually helped the Angels rally and win in the extra inning.

However, it’s an interesting time in the baseball calendar, as the trade deadline is approaching. Shohei Ohtani could be a valuable target for many teams if the Angels decide to trade him before he becomes a free agent. Insider Jon Paul Morosi has claimed that the Angels are open to “consider” any request for him. Also, according to The Post’s Jon Heyman, they have left the option slightly open for the Shohei Ohtani trade. Since the cross-town rivalry puts the Dodgers away, the Yankees have emerged as the best contender with financial muscle to sign him.

Just like any competitive team this season, the Yankees would be thrilled to have Shohei Ohtani if he ever becomes available. However, acquiring him would require a significant trade package to make it happen.

Last summer, the Yankees attempted to get Shohei Ohtani through trade at the trade deadline, as per The Post’s previous report. However, the Angels chose to keep him on their team.

For the time being, the Yankees will be concentrating on trying to control Shohei Ohtani and prevent him from having a big impact during their three-game series at Angel Stadium starting on Monday. Throughout his career, he has played in 21 games against the Yankees. In those games, he had a batting average of .216, hit nine home runs, and 16 RBIs.

Shohei Ohtani will become a free agent after this season, and the Yankees believe he could be the key player they need to overcome their current challenges and achieve greater success. As a batter, he has 35 home runs and 1.068 OPS this season On the pitching side, he has a 7-5 record with an ERA (Earned Run Average) of 3.50, and hitters are struggling to hit against him.

The Yankees’ 2017 experience with Shohei Ohtani

When Shohei Ohtani expressed his willingness to play for major league clubs in November 2017, the New York Yankees seemed like the frontrunners to sign him. Having closely monitored the player’s progress since his high school days, they had shown their interest last August by sending a delegation, led by General Manager Brian Cashman, to Japan. With vacancies in their designated hitter slot and pitching rotation, they were well-positioned to accommodate Shohei Ohtani’s desire to both pitch and hit.

The Yankees could boast a successful track record of integrating Japanese players into their organization, including renowned stars like Hideki Matsui and Masahiro Tanaka. Moreover, they offered Shohei Ohtani, at the age of 23, the opportunity to join a young and talented team poised to contend for the World Series, without the pressure of carrying the team single-handedly.

Shohei Ohtani
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While not emphasizing the connection too much, the Yankees had a unique and historically significant card to play – the Babe Ruth card. Shohei Ohtani’s aspiration was to become the first player in the Baseball Hall of Fame to excel both as a pitcher and a hitter, much like the legendary Babe Ruth.

However, when Shohei Ohtani decided to transition to the United States, he chose not to seize the opportunity in the iconic House Adjacent to the One That Ruth Built. Instead, the Yankees’ proposal, which included a brief image of Ruth with Japanese subtitles, was never presented in person. Ultimately, after a thorough evaluation process, Shohei Ohtani selected the Los Angeles Angels as his destination, leaving behind the Yankees and other East Coast teams who had pursued him fervently.

Yankees are ‘most motivated’ to get Shohei Ohtani now

The Yankees are looking for significant assistance, and that has apparently made them one of the most determined teams to pursue Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani before the August 1 trade deadline.

On ESPN’s “Get Up” show on Thursday, Buster Olney reported that the Yankees are interested in adding 29-year-old Ohtani to their team. The insider claimed citing sources that the Yankees as potentially being the most motivated. He mentioned that the Rangers and Rays, along with a small handful of other teams, are also interested. According to him, Gerrit Cole, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton are middle-aged players right in the prime of their careers, and this is the Yankees’ window to win now.

The talented player, Shohei Ohtani, will hit free agency this winter, and it’s still uncertain whether he will remain with the Angels or not. The Yankees might be interested in adding talented players to both their lineup and pitching rotation, and Ohtani could be the one to fulfill that need.

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The Yankees’ pitching rotation has faced injuries throughout the year, and Nestor Cortes has been sidelined since May 3 without pitching in a game. The two-way star can help them both with bat and ball.

Angels are losing the two-way star

However, due to the ongoing problems in Los Angeles, the Angels might find it appealing to trade Shohei Ohtani for something valuable before they risk losing him in free agency. Currently, the Angels are trailing the Texas Rangers by seven games in the AL West division and are five games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the last wild card spot.

According to a report from The Post’s Jon Heyman last week, some people in the Angels organization are considering the “slight” possibility of trading Shohei Ohtani.

The superstar is having an outstanding season with the Angels. He has a batting average of.302 and has hit 32 home runs and driven in 71 runs. As a pitcher, Shohei Ohtani’s record is 7-4 with an earned run average (ERA) of 3.32. He’s been doing great both as a hitter and a pitcher.

Shohei Ohtani enters Yankee Stadium for warm up before the Angels play the Yankees, June 30, 2021, in New York.
AP Photo/Adam Hunger

He is likely to receive a contract worth a record amount during the winter. The Japanese star is also aiming for a second MVP award, which is a significant accomplishment.

According to The Post, the Dodgers, Giants, and Angels are among the teams interested in acquiring generational talent this winter.

The Angels have openly expressed their hesitation to consider trading the generational talent, with owner Arte Moreno stating to The Post last month that he just doesn’t know how you replace a guy like that. Moreno added that they wanted to win, and having him in the lineup is nice. He mentioned that it’s about the fans for him.

Last summer, Moreno strongly opposed a trade when Shohei Ohtani had a year and a half left before free agency. But even as a rental now, Ohtani still holds immense value as a two-way superstar. He has a chance to break an AL home run record that stood for 61 years until Aaron Judge broke it last season.

If another team acquires Shohei Ohtani, they might hope that a new two-month-plus relationship could improve their chances of signing the biggest free agent ever for the long term.

But big moves like this are not common, and they can lead to many years of struggling before seeing positive outcomes. For example, the Red Sox took 84 years to bounce back after trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees. 

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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One thought on “New York Yankees emerge as primary candidate for landing Shohei Ohtani

  1. No. This will not happen for a myriad of reasons. It’s nice to dream of Ohtani in a Yankees’ uniform, but it will never happen, the ultimate reason being Steinbrenner’s reluctance to breach the luxury tax penalties. Ohtani will remain on the west coast. Guaranteed.

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