The New York Mets are looking to make a splash at this year's trade deadline, and that has led the club to making a call on one player that is viewed by many as being untouchable.
Mets general manager Billy Eppler has been in contact with the Los Angeles Angels about phenom Shohei Ohtani, according to Jim Bowden of CBS Sports. And while the Halos have maintained that they have no interest in moving him, they are still fielding calls.
The Mets have never been shy about pursuing star players. For example, the club signed star shortstop Francisco Lindor in April 2021 and also landed three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer ahead of the 2022 campaign.
Eppler's interest, in particular, is not surprising as he served as general manager of the Angels from 2015 to 2020, signing Ohtani in 2017.
In addition, Eppler has a good relationship with Ohtani, per Bowden, and he would be interested in bringing the two-way star to New York at any point, whether it's before the Aug. 2 trade deadline or when he becomes a free agent after the 2023 season.
Reports about Ohtani's future in L.A. have grown in recent weeks as the Angels continue to struggle, dropping to fourth in the AL West with a 40-56 record, 23.5 games behind the first-place Houston Astros.
Bowden also mentioned Ohtani has a desire to win now and would be hesitant to re-sign with the Angels in 2023 unless they become legitimate World Series contenders. If he becomes a free agent, he'll likely be one of the most sought-after players in baseball history.
Ohtani is having another solid season despite the Angels' struggles, hitting .256/.346/.486 with 20 home runs, 57 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 93 games. He is also 9-5 on the mound with a 2.80 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 134 strikeouts in 93.1 innings across 16 starts.
If the Mets added Ohtani, they'd be among the World Series favorites this year as they already lead the NL East with a 59-37 record, two games ahead of the defending champion Atlanta Braves.
He'd join a star-studded rotation that includes Scherzer, Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker and eventually Jacob deGrom, and would also give the team an added boost on offense at DH.
However, the Mets will face some tough competition for the Japanese superstar, who has already won an MVP, Silver Slugger award and is a two-time All-Star. Simply put, he won't come cheap.