The arms race might be on in the AL East. With five teams boasting a record above .500, every team will feel like they have a shot at making the postseason — and as we all know, the MLB playoffs might be the most susceptible to randomness among the major sports leagues in the United States. But it seems like the three top teams in the AL East at the moment — Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, and Toronto Blue Jays, in that order — are ahead of the two usual juggernauts of the division (New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox) in the trade front for Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani, per Jeff Passan of ESPN.
“… When asked where Ohtani could wind up if he's moved, three of the most popular answers from executives are Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Toronto,” Passan wrote.
The Orioles are in need of an upgrade in their pitching rotation, so it's not a surprise that Shohei Ohtani could be a feasible trade target. While the Angels star's best asset this season has been his elite hitting, he remains a comfortably above-average starter who should give the Orioles' rotation a huge boost.
The Rays are also another team in search of pitching, following the injuries to both Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen. They certainly have a ton of prospects that could entice the Angels in a potential Ohtani trade, but their small-market stylings may make it an unreasonable deal for them to pursue given their certain inability to keep the two-way star in town beyond what remains of this season.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays could find it difficult to swing a trade with the Angels given their lackluster farm system, and as Passan noted as well, the team “hasn't done enough to convince ownership to open up the coffers”.
Whatever the case may be, it'll all still depend on the Angels brass' willingness to deal away Shohei Ohtani. Making the playoffs remains a difficult task for them given how many teams there are above them in the standings, so maybe fans should expect some trade fireworks to go off within the next week or so.