The Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes is just about the only thing that can save the New York Mets at this point. The historically expensive and aging club has been lousy. If the Los Angeles Angels decide to move forward with an Ohtani trade to salvage his eventual departure, the Mets should spare no expense in going for him.
New York has some things going in their favor when it comes to an Ohtani pursuit. Billy Eppler's relationship with Ohtani — he was the Angels general manager that signed Ohtani — and Steve Cohen's willingness to spend, spend, spend give the Mets a good shot at convincing the superstar to join. But the 29-year-old superstar will surely want to join a team that allows him to compete for a World Series, and this Mets season proves that they probably won’t be able to.
The possibility that the Angels trade Ohtani is inching toward likely, though it is still far from a possibility. The Mets have to be at the forefront of trade talks ahead of the August 1 trade deadline.
Mets must try to trade for Ohtani this season
This Mets season only gets more lost as the season goes on. Francisco Alvarez, Kodai Senga, Tommy Pham and the potential return they could get for David Robertson are the only real things keeping New York fans from plunging into pure insanity. Their future looks bleak as some of the prospects they have called up have not been very good. The veterans they shelled out for have been absolutely brutal.
Ohtani has as good of a shot at saving the Mets as perhaps any player ever. They need help everywhere, especially with power in their offense. Their pitching department could use any shred of competency. Adding another slugger (who is also very valuable on the base paths) and ace pitcher in one is any baseball executive's dream.
The only real risk that an Ohtani trade brings is that he could be a rental. With his contract set to expire, any team would have to be certain beyond any doubt that the superstar will sign an extension. The Mets' deep pockets should curb that issue, though not entirely. The risk is worth it when the reward is a once-in-a-lifetime player.
Mets perfect Shohei Ohtani trade offer
In short, the ideal Mets trade for Ohtani includes literally anybody not named Francisco Alvarez. Even though the Angels are about to drive the hardest bargain of all time, it may be possible for New York to land him without sacrificing the budding star that would be Ohtani's future battery mate.
The Mets' ideal trade package to offer the Angels should look something like this:
Angels receive: 3B Brett Baty, P Grant Hartwig, C Kevin Parada (Mets No. 1 prospect), SS Ronny Mauricio (Mets No. 2 prospect), RHPs Dominic Hamel and Mike Vasil (Mets No. 6 and 8 prospects, respectively), INF Jesus Baez (Mets No. 10 prospect)
Mets receive: DH/P Shohei Ohtani, 3B Anthony Rendon
There's really no way around giving the Angels exactly what they want for Ohtani. Two of the Mets' prospects on MLB.com's top-100 list should be a good start, especially since they play positions that will be occupied for a while by the Franciscos (Alvarez and Lindor). The two pitchers included in this trade are the Mets' two top-10 guys that are expected to be big-league-ready the soonest. Baez is an 18-year-old with upside that could act as a sweetener for the Angels.
The Angels would also get a pair of players from the Mets' roster. The 25-year-old Hartwig has been very solid in the 11.1 major-league innings he has seen so far. Baty is young and has had his moments, but overall, hasn’t been much of a revelation this season with a mere .669 OPS. At just 23 years old, though, he could be worth an investment.
If the Angels were to trade away the best player in the game, they would surely want to land Alvarez in return. Although they already have a talented young catcher in Logan O'Hoppe, Alvarez is a beast and, at just 21 years old, is showing hitting power that is rarely seen from a catcher. The Mets can make the deal more favorable for the Angels without including him by taking on Anthony Rendon's contract.
Formerly one of the best third basemen in the game, Rendon has been injury prone and average at best at the plate over the last few seasons. He is owed over $38 million in each of the next three seasons following 2023. The Mets' payroll would go extra haywire by taking on Rendon's deal, but it's the best way for them to surrender less in a trade that lands them Ohtani.
While the Mets have been miserable this season, they do resemble something of a sleeping giant. Perhaps the days of Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander being elite are through, but there is still a lot of talent here. Jeff McNeil and Starling Marte were All-Stars just last season, and Edwin Diaz has missed the whole season due to injury. Kodai Senga has been stellar and is ready to put on his recruiting hat.
The Mets are going to have to give up a lot for Shohei Ohtani no matter what any potential package looks like. Their current course is sinking, and none of the prospects in the minors have a great shot at bringing them back to life. A superstar like Ohtani who can carry the load at the plate and the mound would inject New York with talent and energy that could allow them to regain their 2022 form.