Shohei Ohtani rumors: could the Orioles trade for the Angels superstar?

Could the Orioles possibly land the Angels superstar two way player?
93rd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard
93rd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

The rumor mill is heating up with the trade deadline closing in. The biggest trade piece this year (and possibly ever) is the two-way super talent of Shohei Ohtani, who could be heading out of Los Angeles due to their recent struggles that have dropped them out of the playoff race. And according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, the Angels are in "listening mode" for potential Ohtani packages.

One of the many teams that has been linked to Ohtani in the early stages of trade discussions are the Baltimore Orioles. The O's will most definitely be looking to add talent at the deadline, but would they really go out and get arguably the most talented player to play the sport? Let's dive into this possibility.

Could the Baltimore Orioles land Shohei Ohtani in a trade?

Why It's Possible

The reason the Orioles are seemingly "in" on Ohtani is that they are one of the best teams in baseball and have a surplus of young talent. The Orioles have the top rated farm system in all of baseball and also have tons of young talent already in the majors. If you were the Angels and were forced to move a generational talent like Ohtani, the Orioles would present an option that could net you a better return then almost any other team out there. The rumored asking price for Ohtani is 2 top 100 prospects as well as some young major league talent to finish off the deal. Both of these requests would be reachable by the Orioles.

Jackson Holliday
SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

For most players, that trade package would be a major haul. But only giving up two top 100 prospects and a couple of major leaguers for both a top 5 pitcher and hitter seems like a steal. The reason being is that Ohtani is set to hit free agency after the conclusion of the season, meaning he would only be a rental. The Orioles could be able to hold onto top prospects like Jackson Holliday, Grayson Rodriguez, and Colton Cowser while still giving the Angels a package that they like. That really speaks to the depth of their farm system.

Why It's Unlikely

The biggest reason why trading for Ohtani seems so far-fetched is the track record of the Orioles front office. Although Mike Elias and company have done a tremendous job building this team from the ground up, they've never been aggressive buyers during his tenure. Last season the Orioles traded away Jorge Lopez and Trey Mancini even though they were in the thick of the playoff picture. Although both of those trades fetched great returns, the ideology behind it makes it unlikely they'll make a trade of this magnitude. They also were very passive in free agency this past offseason while many people expected them to be aggressive in finding talent.

To go along with the Orioles general hesitancy to buy, they have shown a reluctance to trade away top prospects from their farm system. Like I mentioned earlier, the O's could probably avoid trading their truly elite prospects (Holliday, Cowser, etc.), but they would have to sacrifice some promising young players slightly further down their rankings. The Orioles would also be forced to give up some of their major league talent, which could prove to be a tough pill to swallow for a three month rental like Ohtani.

That leads me to my next point. Although Ohtani is a generational player, you're only getting 3 months of him. Ohtani reportedly wants to join a competitive, big-market, west coast team in free agency this upcoming off season. Sure, the Orioles seem like they are building towards being a long-term contender, but they won't be able to offer the money or market that he desires.

My Prediction

Although the idea of adding Ohtani to an already loaded core of talent sounds amazing, it really isn't realistic. The O's certainly have the ability to compete with any opposing team's offer, but I doubt they actually will. Some team like the Giants or Mets or Yankees will get desperate and offer a huge package for Ohtani that the Orioles simply won't want to match. The O's have no reason to be desperate in their first year of true contention.

Their championship window just opened and it doesn't appear to be closing anytime soon. I think it's much more likely that the O's go after some pitching help that they can get for a bargain in order to hold onto their prospect capital. Hopefully Elias gets aggressive, but no one should be disappointed if they don't land Shohei Ohtani.