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The Million Dollar Question: Trade For Shohei Ohtani Now, Or Wait To Sign Him After Season?

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The summer of 2023, is not only one of the hottest on record across the country but its also the hottest in the presses, as the top teams in baseball are vying for an opportunity to land the most exciting MLB player in decades.

There aren’t many people that are still alive that actually watched Babe Ruth play the game in his heyday, but some experts are still stating that Shohei Ohtani is to the game now, what the Babe was to the game in his time.

Herman Babe Ruth, aka the Salton Of Swat, the Bambino, was the most prolific baseball player of his time. The outfielder, who was born in Baltimore, MD in 1895, was also two-way player. In 10 seasons on the mound (1914-1921, 1930, 1933) , Ruth accumulated a 94-46 record, with a 2.28 ERA in 163 games (148 starts). He had 107 complete games, and 488 strikeouts in 1221.1 innings.

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With the bat, Ruth stepped to the plate for 22 years (1914-1935) accumulating 2873 hits, 714 home runs, 2213 RBIs  and a career batting average of .342. Ohtani, who is being considered to be on the same stratosphere as Ruth, has career batting average of .273, with 641 hits, 162 Home runs, 418 RBIs through six seasons in the majors. If not for the shortened season of 2020, when teams played just 60 games, Ohtani’s numbers may have been even higher.

In 2021, he hit 46 home runs, and last season he hit 35, and as we sit here on July 21st, he already has 35 home runs. With the bat, the comparison to Ruth may be a bit overstated, but maybe the comparison with the stick can be to David Ortiz, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr.or even Reggie Jackson. But if you want to compare what he has done as a two-way player, then nothing stacks up to him in this lifetime. No player over the last 50 years has made such an impact from both sides of the plate as Ohtani.

On the mound, the Japanese import has collected 35 wins in five season, posting a career 3.09 ERA and 580 strikeouts in 455 innings pitched, all of which spanned 81 starts. Could those numbers be better if he played on a team that contended for championships each year and had a supporting cast to help him win games? That thought is what is driving the many teams that want his services on their roster. But what is he truly worth? and is it safe to say, its better to go after him in the off-season, where a team is not shipping away their top talent or half of their roster.

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Any team that goes after Ohtani now, prior to the Trading Deadline, are almost guaranteeing them a postseason run, if in fact, they are left with enough pieces to make it happen. What would teams like the New York Yankees, New York Mets or even the Los Angeles Dodgers have to give up to land such a star, especially with the thought that he may only be leased for this season.

To most fans, that is a crazy thought, as there is no guarantee that Ohtani will sign a long term contract, if he is dealt away. Does he even get a choice as to which team he would go to, so he ensures he stays long term? And if that is an option, where would he like to call home?

All of that is very enticing to a team looking to win in 2023, but at what cost?

The Angels can very well be greedy and demand whatever they want in return. Imagine them asking for Aaron Judge and a boatload of prospects for Ohtani.  Well why not, because if they have what all experts agree is the next coming of Babe Ruth, this will be the biggest trade in baseball history since 1919, when the Babe was traded to the Yankees. Remember the curse, as the Red Sox would not win a World Series again for 86 years. Ideally, that is not the same fate for the Angels, but trading away Ohtani, will have major ripples across the league.

So what is the best approach for any organization looking at adding Ohtani to their lineup and rotation; land him now and probably have to rebuild for future seasons, or just ride out the season, and lure him in the offseason, as he can be locked up for years to come. If in fact a team can afford him.

So the obvious question has to be, will a team win now if they trade for Ohtani and if so, what are they willing to part with?

Either way the Angels would probably be better off trying to land some coveted talent now then risk allowing Ohtani to walk after the season. Maybe the Angels stand pat and push for a postseason run of their own and take advantage of the time they have him now. And why not, as they are sitting within reach at just five games out of the wild card spot at 49-48. A strong second half push and they can be the 2022 Phillies or even the Padres.

Either way, the next two weeks are going to be one of the most anticipated trading deadlines and probably the biggest in MLB history. But is one man worth all this attention? Well we could be watching the modern day version of the Babe Ruth trade, right before our eyes and the impact it will have on baseball.

So strap on your boots and get ready for an exciting ride to the August 1st deadline.

David is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Legends On Deck®, as well as a Co-Host on Legends On Deck Podcast. David was a Senior Editor for MetsMerizedOnline.com, MetsMinors.net and Contributor for Hardballchat.com that spanned from 2010 to 2014. David made his MLB Debut as a writer in June 2014, while covering the NY Mets at Citi Field, for MetsmerizedOnline.com. David also coaches baseball for ages 13-15, a Babe Ruth League team in his local community. David's passion is coaching the game he loves to the future Legends of Tomorrow as well as making available a website that people can have fun sharing and reading. David is also passionate about his career as a Mortgage Loan Officer which allows him to help many families reach their dreams of owning a home. Connect with David via his Social Media pages as he loves to chat all about baseball.

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