All this Juan Soto madness is getting YES Network analyst Cameron Maybin hungry for the next, great Yankees trade target. And while New York seems to be second banana in the Soto talks (congrats to the NL West), there’s still another way they could blow up the deadline if they felt like risking it all.
Let’s just say that the “Voters Never Want to Give the MVP to a Yankee” argument could get a lot more interesting if Maybin had his way.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim possess two of the game’s greatest talents in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani — but not for too much longer. Trout’s stuck in Anaheim long-term while battling an extremely rare back condition, but Ohtani’s contract only lasts through 2023, when someone will be paying him long-term following his age-29 season.
Whichever team takes that plunge will be absorbing a hitter who’s been 34% and 58% better than league average the past few years, while also posting numbers on the mound impressive enough to start an All-Star Game. He’s a singular talent, and no trade ask is too much — as long as he agrees to play in your city.
That’s all Maybin is asking. So far, it’s been Soto this, Soto that, as well as several conversations regarding ace-type pitchers like Luis Castillo and Frankie Montas. Ohtani is both!
Can Yankees push for Shohei Ohtani trade?
Typically these days, you’ll evaluate a trade target by digging around under the hood and making sure the advanced metrics line up with recent production. In Ohtani’s case, there’s basically just a glowing neon sign under there that reads, “HE’S SHOHEI OHTANI!”
Back in his initial free agency, though, the slugger/ace did seem to show some trepidation about playing in New York, sharing a spotlight once dominated by Hideki Matsui (and Ichiro, to a lesser extent). Though the Yankees began the process as the rumored favorite for Ohtani’s services, they actually ended up as the first team booted from the chase. It’s unclear if feelings have changed in 4.5 years, but he may invoke an informal no-trade clause to the Yankees, too.
That’s a shame, because the rumored price of this “one in a million” deal actually sounds downright palatable. “Top four prospects” for Ohtani after Soto required those four plus Gleyber Torres and a few more young big-leaguers? Where does Brian Cashman sign up?
Maybin’s just asking questions for now; the Ohtani pursuit will likely be slow, lumbering, and extend into the Winter Meetings.
It’s certainly worth considering just how stealthy Cashman can be, though. Usually, he shows up with a trade target nobody ever expected, with a deal completed in silence. If he pivots to Ohtani in the shadows, it’ll be his greatest work yet.
Maybe Tyler Wade can even share some tips with Anthony Volpe about playing 45 miles from the Hollywood Sign.