April 17, 2024

MLB Rumors: Angels not close to Shohei Ohtani trade decision; Yankees may try to avoid top luxury tax penalty

The 2023 MLB trade deadline is August 1 this year. Only one week and five days away. The trading activity started on Wednesday with the Orioles picking up hard-throwing Shintaro Fujinami from the Athletics. The trading platforms could open soon. Here are Thursday’s trade deadline rumors.

Angels are not close to Ohtani’s decision

After sweeping the Yankees, the Angels aren’t close to a decision about trading Shohei Ohtani, reports MLB.com. The Halos are 4.5 games back of the third and final wild card spot and are expected to give themselves as much time as possible to get into the race and avoid trading Ohtani, which they don’t want to do. They want to keep him and get to the postseason.

Also, Ohtani has a chance to hit 60 home runs and challenge Aaron Judge’s single season record of 62 homers. Even if the Angels fall out of the postseason race, Ohtani’s home run chase will put a lot of bases in the seats. Angels owner Arte Moreno is all about big names and trading Ohtani in the middle of the pursuit of Judge’s record may not sit well with him.

Yankees may try to avoid CAP penalties

The Yankees may try to get under the third competitive balance tax threshold of $297 million at the deadline, according to The Athletic. FanGraphs estimates the New York CAP payroll at $294.1 million. Because CAP “hits” are pro rata in a season, the Yankees will need to shed about $3.3 million at the deadline to get under $293 million, and more than that to have room for a promotion down the stretch.

The CAP includes four penalty levels ($233 million, $253 million, $273 million, $293 million) each with increased tax rates and some with non-monetary penalties. The Yankees incurred all non-monetary penalties at the third $273 million threshold, including pushing their 2024 first-round pick back 10 spots. Going under would save the team $293 million.

Mets getting calls about Canha

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Teams are calling the Mets about outfielder Mark Canha, ESPN reports. Tommy Pham’s strong season pushed Canha into a part-time role — Canha has started just 10 of the last 23 games — though he’s good enough to play regularly as a baseman who will make a mistake in the seats, steal a base, and play solid defense in left and right field as well as first base.

Canha, 34, is owed the remainder of his $10.5 million salary this season, and his contract includes an affordable $11.5 million club option for 2025. The $2 million buyout is a $9.5 million decision. The Mets ate money (lots of it) in the Eduardo Escobar and Trevor Gott trades, and could pay down Canha’s salary to get a better return, or at least facilitate a trade.

D-Backs could be aggressive at the deadline

The Diamondbacks enter Wednesday’s play with a 54-42 record. They sit in the top wild card spot, 1.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West, and two games up on the postseason berth overall. Arizona figures to add at the deadline and could be aggressive, although GM Mike Hazen warned the team won’t be reckless.

“There is a difference between being aggressive and being reckless,” Hazen told The Arizona Republic recently. “We’re not going to be reckless. We’re going to be aggressive, even ultra-aggressive, but I think being reckless doesn’t serve anyone’s interests, this year’s team or the future.”

The D-Backs could definitely use another starting pitcher, preferably someone with control beyond 2024. Bullpen help and perhaps another bat, likely at third base or in the outfield, could also be in the cards. Arizona is well-positioned to contend in the future, although the current team needs reinforcements. There is a way to buy Hazen now without damaging that future.

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