The New York Mets have been linked into some home run trade possibilities over the past week, with the two biggest names that have popped up in trade situations being Juan Soto and Shohei Ohtani. The Mets under the new brass in Steve Cohen have often gone big in adding talent, with Francisco Lindor and Max Scherzer as the two most prime examples among players on this year’s team. And yes, both Ohtani and Soto are two of the best players in all of baseball.
Per Jim Bowden of CBS Sports HQ, the Mets reportedly reached out to the Angels in recent days regarding Ohtani, and they were one of the seven teams that were in the Juan Soto sweepstakes (a Soto trade within the division is unlikely, however).
For this exercise, we can only choose between one of these two behemoths of the sport. You can only get one.
Shohei Ohtani is the better fit for the Mets over Juan Soto because of his two-way abilities
Shohei Ohtani was hyped as both the Japanese version and 21st century version of Babe Ruth when he arrived in Anaheim five winters ago. Babe Ruth could have carved out two different Hall of Fame careers, one at the mound and one at the plate, which makes him in my mind the greatest player in baseball history.
Ohtani has been so much fun to watch for Angels fans and baseball fans when he is healthy and producing. Yes, Ohtani has missed time due to elbow issues, but in a sport that rewards great pitching, Shohei Ohtani will do such that for a contender. It is a shame and an embarrassment that the Arte Moreno owned Angels have not translated Ohtani’s career (and Mike Trout’s) into playoff wins, with arguably the two best position players in baseball (Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge may have something to say about that, though).
Also, Billy Eppler was the general manager who first signed Ohtani in Anaheim. Eppler is now the Mets general manager.
Consider this about Ohtani: Between May 16 and July 26, the Angels have the worst record in baseball by a mile at 17-43. Shohei Ohtani is 6-3 with a 2.80 ERA in with 88 strikeouts in 61 innings over 10 starts in this stretch of games. The next most wins any pitchers has had for the Angels is two. At the plate, in which his team has had the worst offense in baseball, scoring just 3.3 runs per game over this stretch, Ohtani has 13 home runs and a .502 slugging percentage, in which he and Trout are essentially the offense. It helps Ohtani has a mighty power stroke that plays well anywhere.
The reason why we value stars in the NBA so highly (like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, and LeBron James as examples) is because they can dominate on both ends of the court and win championships. Ohtani is the one-of-a-kind two-way player in baseball, and can dominate both on the hill and at the plate. Juan Soto can’t pitch at a high level. Same with Mike Trout. And Mookie Betts. And Pete Alonso. And Francisco Lindor.
Also, Soto would cost the farm in a trade, and Ohtani is scheduled to hit free agency after the season. Ohtani would be great for multiple needs. And it would be great for the fans of old National League baseball where the pitcher had to hit, and for the nearby neighborhoods that have rich Asian traditions.