Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, who played together for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, may be playing for the “local rival” Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hector Gomez of Z101 in the Dominican Republic reported on social media that “the Los Angeles Dodgers will make a very aggressive move to acquire Idoru superstar Shohei Ohtani and 11-time All-Star center fielder Mike Trout via trade” on April 18 (EDT).굿모닝토토
This year, Ohtani finished the season on the disabled list (IL) after undergoing Tommy John surgery for a torn ligament in his right elbow and a side injury. However, he went 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts and hit .304 with a 1.066 OPS in 135 games with 151 hits, 95 RBIs, 102 runs scored, 20 doubles, and a .066 batting average, becoming the American League’s home run leader (44 homers) and the first two-time “unanimous” MVP in major league history.
At the end of the season, Ohtani became a free agent for the first time in his career, and is now waiting to see what the market has to say. The Los Angeles Angels made a qualifying offer (QO) to Ohtani, but they were unable to entice him with less money than he made this year, and the Dodgers are now at the forefront of the battle for his services. The Dodgers have been the favorite to land Ohtani since before he became a free agent.
The Dodgers have been very passive in the free agent market in recent years, largely because they want to reduce the team’s payroll. This move is expected to set the stage for the Dodgers to make a “big splash” in free agency this year. Currently, the Dodgers are expected to make an all-out effort to sign Ohtani, who is expected to be worth $500 million (approximately 648.2 billion won). “MLB.com” reported on the 18th that “industry insiders say the Dodgers are still in the lead.
The Dodgers, in addition to signing Ohtani, are also believed to be looking to acquire Trout, the Angels’ best player and a major league “signature hitter. Trout has been plagued by injuries every year except for the 2020 season, which was shortened due to COVID-19. In 2021, he was limited to 36 games with a fractured wrist, and in 2022, he was limited to 119 games. And this year, he ended the season on the injured reserve list, playing just 82 games before undergoing surgery for a fractured fibula.
Still, when healthy, Trout is arguably the best player in baseball, but late in the season, USA Today’s Bob Nightingale raised the possibility of a trade, and the speculation has been relentless ever since. Trout signed a 12-year, $426.5 million contract with the Angels prior to the start of the 2019 season, and while he still has seven years left on his deal, Nightingale reported at the time that the Angels were open to the idea if Trout wanted to leave the team.
Trout was asked about trade speculation when he spoke to reporters after the season officially ended, and he said, “John Carpino (Angels president) and I talk openly every year. I have seven years left on my contract. Everybody wants to hear about it, but it’s a private conversation where I give my opinion,” he said, adding, “I’m going to do the same thing I did last year.” It’s clear that Trout was coy, but he didn’t specifically say he wanted or refused to be traded. Which brings us back to trade speculation.
According to Hector Gomez of Z101, the Dodgers are willing to take on some prospect hemorrhaging in exchange for Trout via trade. “The Dodgers are willing to give up their top prospects in exchange for Trout,” Gomez explained. It’s hard to imagine Trout wearing a uniform other than the Angels, and it’s unlikely that he’d trade with the Dodgers, who are also a “local rival”.
The Angels made it clear that they would not trade Ohtani to the Dodgers when the trade rumors began. John Heyman of MLB.com wrote at the time, “If Ohtani is dealt before the trade deadline, he won’t be staying in California. ‘We’re not going to trade him to a local rival,’ Angels president Art Moreno said.” However, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Angels would listen to offers for the Dodgers’ prospects.
If the Dodgers were to retain Ohtani and add a free agent, they would have one of the best offenses in all 30 major leagues, along with Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. With the start of the offseason in full swing, there is a lot of talk. Will the Dodgers be able to keep Ohtani and Trout together?