NEW YORK — The New York Mets have had a big offseason. They signed big name free agents like Justin Verlander, Brandon Nimmo and Jose Quintana.
They also signed All-Star closer Edwin Diaz so he and the trumpets can return to Citi Field. They almost signed Carlos Correa who ended up going back to the Minnesota Twins after questions from his physical. The Mets also signed Kodai Senga, a six-time Japan Series champion who will be making his stateside debut in 2023. So do the Mets really need someone else?
Well, Locked on Mets host Ryan Finkelstein thinks it’s possible the Mets could go after the big one: Shohei Ohtani. But how would they do it? Finkelstein goes through a few possible scenarios for the Mets on the latest episode of his show, and how they could acquire one of the best players MLB has seen in a century.
The first scenario could be the Mets trading for Ohtani mid-season in 2023. With news this week of the Angels not being put up for sale by Arte Moreno who decided at the eleventh hour to keep ownership of the team it’s possible, he could decide to blow everything up and start fresh. Trading away Shohei Ohtani—and maybe even Mike Trout—could be step one in that plan.
But what would it take for them to trade someone like Ohtani? Finkelstein thinks another tumultuous season for the Angels could lead to a potential trade.
He said, “If they start flat. If Rendon can’t make it back on the field. If Trout is even banged up a little bit and if you look at the roster and Shohei Ohtani is on an island with some guys like (Taylor) Ward and (Brandon) Drury and they’re just middling…they’re five games under .500 in June without a path, then maybe?"
In MLB, it’s usually apparent—but not always—around the trade deadline if a team is going to contend or not and if they’re going to be buyers or seller.
If the Angels find themselves in familiar territory in the American League West division, i.e. stuck in third or fourth place behind teams like the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners with no chance of catching up to either team, a trade could very well happen.
The Angels haven’t done much since winning five division titles in the late-00s and they last made the playoffs in 2014, while seeing an over .500 record once since 2015. This means Shohei Ohtani has not been on a winning team since coming over to MLB from Japan. Personally, he’s made a big impact on baseball, and he has become must-watch TV. But the results for the Angels have not been there.
That would not happen in New York.
The other scenario for the Mets is waiting for free agency. Ohtani will be available at the end of the 2023 season after signing a one-year deal for $30 million with the Angels this offseason.
The Angels would be silly to just let him go and not try to keep him but the Mets play in New York—the biggest market in the country–they have an owner who is willing to spend as much money as possible to put a winning product on the field, and they have the means to blow Ohtani away with an offer he can’t refuse.
Finkelstein recalls in his episode, the infamous Carmelo Anthony trade the New York Knicks made with the Denver Nuggets back during the 2010-11 season in which they gutted the team for a superstar player when they could have just waited for Anthony to enter free agency and signed him anyway.
Could the same thing be an option for the Mets? While it may be tempting for Steve Cohen to get the big fish in a trade mid-season, it may be better for the team’s future to wait until Ohtani is testing the free agency waters.