With the MLB Trade Deadline looming just weeks away, the Minnesota Twins are going to have to make a few different decisions about what the future holds.
First and foremost the Twins need to settle on being buyers or sellers at the deadline. While some fans might have already given up on the team, Minnesota selling at the deadline would require some sort of catastrophic meltdown between now and August 1st.
The question then becomes how much of a buyer should the Twins be at the deadline? Derek Falvey has suggested there isn’t a need to be aggressive given the talent the team has, and recent big swing trades not working out might scare the front office off from making a splash.
One name on the market rightfully changes all plans: Shohei Ohtani.
For some reason, the Angels haven’t done all they can to make sure he’s part of the franchise for life and there are growing rumors about him possibly being traded. It’s an insane idea, but if the Angels are dumb enough to let that be a rumor then it’s foolish to not engage to see what happens.
It take a bit of gymnastics to get there, but the Twins aren’t being ruled out as a possible destination.
MLB insider suggests Twins could be in on Shohei Ohtani trade
According to Ken Rosenthal over at The Athletic, the closer we get to the trade deadline the more likely it is that small ball clubs could enter the Shohei Ohtani trade chat.
The reason for this is the $10 million he’s owed on August 1st, which could be palatable for teams without huge payrolls who want to roll the dice on both winning a World Series this year and locking the league’s best player on a long-term deal.
“Barring a public declaration from Moreno, which is highly unlikely, the intrigue surrounding Ohtani likely will continue right up until the deadline. Starting Aug. 1, Ohtani will be owed exactly $10 million in salary. If the Angels make him available, even low-revenue teams would figure to enter the mix,” Rosenthal reported.
He doesn’t specifically mention the Twins, but there are few teams as closely attached to the small ball description than the Twins. Minneapolis isn’t that small of a market, but in the grand scheme of the league it’s at the most mid-sized.
We’ve heard rumblings about the Twins and Ohtani in the past, but it’s always been taken with a grain of salt. This should as well, since Rosenthal doesn’t outright say the team is in on Ohtani but it leaves the possibility that they can get in on the sweepstakes wide open.
The question is should they?
It’s easy to assume the obvious answer is ‘yes’, which is almost emphatically is. The idea of landing a generational talent like Ohtani needs to be taken seriously and anyone saying otherwise is a lie. Rather than calling the Angels about a trade package, the first call the 29 other teams in the league should make is to Ohtani’s representation.
Trading for Ohtani is one thing, but keeping him is another.
Ohtani is a free agent at the end of this season and is in line to get the biggest contract in baseball history. We’re talking Patrick Mahomesian levels of money will be dumped into Ohtani’s lap but teams will need more than a blank check to land him.
Whoever trades for Ohtani will need to know that they can sign him to a long term deal. There are only a handful of teams that can gamble on just this season, but even a team like the Rays or Rangers dipping into their farm system for a half-season rental of Ohtani is a tough sell.
If Ohtani is willing to sign long-term with the Twins, then it doesn’t seem like there’s a price too high in order to get him. Adding Ohtani to a core of Buxton, Correa, Lopez, and Ryan is hard to pass up. Outside of the monetary value, the Twins would likely need to include guys like Royce Lewis, Brooks Lee, and other top prospects to make a deal happen -- a price that seems astronomically high when an attempt to sign Ohtani without giving up prospects can be made this winter.
This is all wildly speculative, but if there’s even a smal chance of the Twins being able to land Ohtani it needs to be explored.