Ohtani is Lynchpin of MLB Trade Deadline

MLB fans will see that the fuss surrounding Japanese MLB star Shoehei Ohtani won’t be the top story at the trade deadline. The Los Angeles Angels are trying to keep their star two-way player around. Almost like a child taken hostage, writers and fans have hoped the Angels would deal the superstar. The Angels again look like they aren’t headed for the postseason, and fans would like to see Ohtani play in the playoffs for the first time in his career.

However, there is little indication thus far a team would be willing to pay the hefty price tag that comes with acquiring such a sought-after commodity. But Ohtani’s not the only player with potential to flip who will win the World Series. Since MLB moved the trade deadline back to Aug. 1, teams now have more time to decide if they are going to pursue a title. Here’s a look at which players may get moved.

Is It Possible for Ohtani to Land Somewhere Else?

Dealing away Ohtani is difficult for any team to pull the trigger on. Ohtani will be a free agent at the end of the season, so whoever attempted to bring him aboard would need to convince him to stay. That hasn’t stopped about a half-dozen contenders from acquiring his services and bringing him in at the trade deadline.

Ohtani, who is the only two-way player in the MLB, has been having a strong season on the mound and at the plate. He is 8-5 on the mound with a 3.71 ERA and has struck out 148 batters in 112.1 innings of work. At the plate, Ohtani is batting .299 with 36 home runs and 77 RBIs. The word is that Ohtani is unlikely to be moved, but if a team can pry him away, it will create shock waves in the playoff race.

Ohtani is Lynchpin

The Amazin’ Mets May Be Sellers

New York spent a ton of money in the offseason to contend for a title this season. However, as often happens with the Mets, things haven’t worked out well. New York’s big problem is that it doesn’t have much to sell off. The Mets’ two veteran pitchers — Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander — would have to agree to a trade in order to open things up.

New York will be eager to sell as it gets back to the drawing board. Whether the players will cooperate, as both have already won championships in their careers, is another matter.

Pirates Already Prepared to Walk the Plank

Pittsburgh was one of the nice surprises during April after starting 20-8. Since then, it’s been all downhill for the Pirates. Pittsburgh has fallen into the basement of the National League Central. Now, the Pirates are trying to move their two All-Star pitchers, Mitch Keller and David Bednar.

Unfortunately for the Pirates, Keller has started to sink over the past few weeks. He’s 9-6 with a 4.01 ERA this season but has been shelled in his past few starts. Bednar was part of his second All-Star team in as many years this year. 

However, Pittsburgh’s problem is the Pirates haven’t been winning enough to require Bednar’s services as a closer. Bednar has been consistent when he’s been used. Bednar has converted 19 of 20 save opportunities this season.

MLB Trade Deadline

Reds Attempting to Play Role of Contenders

The Cincinnati Reds caught fire in June and haven’t gone anywhere. Thanks to calling up a couple of top prospects, the Reds have received a shot in the arm and have been able to make a serious effort at finishing in first place in the NL Central. Rumors are that Cincinnati is ready to trade infielder Jonathan India to acquire a young starting pitcher.

Cincinnati’s problem with that strategy is that adding a starting pitcher is a tough market. Many teams are looking to add pitching for a pennant run and India himself may not be enough to acquire what Cincinnati needs to get over the hump.

Flaherty Could Be Strong Pitching Option

Right-handed pitcher Jack Flaherty has been stuck on a disappointing St. Louis Cardinals roster. With Arizona, San Francisco, and Cleveland in the market for more starting pitchers, Flaherty is an appealing prospect.

Flaherty has allowed one run or less in eight of his 19 starts this season. Any team looking to bring on a veteran player won’t have to worry about money with Flaherty. He would only cost any potential suitor $2 million for the rest of the season.

Orioles Desperate for Another Pitcher

Baltimore amazingly ran down the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East standings. But the Orioles aren’t just the division’s top team;they have the best record in the American League. Baltimore has been trying to pry Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Lucas Giolito and Chicago Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman away from their respective teams. 

Giolito has been solid for the White Sox this year. He has a 6-6 record with a 3.79 ERA. Stroman has a 10-7 record with a 3.09 ERA so far this season. Stroman has struggled in July, though, posting a 6.20 ERA in his four startings.

Yankees Pursue Bellinger

Chicago Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger has been the apple of many teams’ eyes during this trade season. It isn’t a for-sure thing that the Cubs will part with the slugger. The New York Yankees are hoping to change their minds.

The Yankees are stuck in a dogfight for the AL East crown. Bellinger is batting .314 for the season and has hit 22 home runs and driven in 45 runs. Chicago has been wallowing in a bad National League Central. Bellinger is hoping that his power will make him appealing to another destination if he doesn’t want to be a part of the Cubs’ rebuild.

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman has said that New York may not be the first team in when it comes to making a splash at the trade deadline. New York would like to take the chance to see how other teams approach it before it jumps into the water itself.