The Los Angeles Angels desperately need to play winning baseball this season. Why? Because the future of the franchise's best player may well hang in the balance.
Shohei Ohtani, who will become a free agent after this season, is likely to sign the largest contract in the history of the sport and wants to play for a winning organization. That has not been part of the Angels' DNA of late. LA has yet to get to the postseason since Ohtani made his major league debut in 2018.
The Halos, after years of mediocre play are in contention for a playoff spot in the American League. But one of their best players suffered an injury this past week and could put the Angels' winning ways in jeopardy. Perhaps the Cincinnati Reds could be of some assistance.
This Angels injury could open up the opportunity for the Reds to swing a trade.
Los Angeles Angels tarting shortstop Zach Neto was added to the Injured List with a strained oblique earlier this week. Of course, oblique injuries are notoriously fickle and can take several weeks to heal. That's time the Angels don't have.
At the moment, the Halos have turned to Andrew Velasquez to fill the void at shortstop. The Cincinnati Reds, however, just so happen to have a pair of shortstops that could had for the right price.
Both Kevin Newman and the recently demoted Jose Barrero should be on the trade block for the highest bidder. The future of the Reds infield has already been solidified through the additions of rookies Spencer Steer, Elly De La Cruz, and Matt McLain. The team also has Jonathan India and Nick Senzel.
Newman may be the better of the two options, both for the Angels and the Reds. The former Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop has another year of arbitration eligiblity remaining and minor league options.
Newman is versatile, seeing time at every infield position for the Reds this year. The veteran has also handled left-handed pitching very well, and when Neto returns, Newman could still add value to the Halos roster.
There haven't been any official mentions of the two teams engaging in trade talks yet, but don't count the Reds out should Neto's injury be seen as a long-term concern.
The Angels have posted a .781 OPS against left-handed pitching this season. Newman's .916 OPS against southpaws this season would certainly bolster the Los Angeles Angels lineup.
The Cincinnati Reds saw the return of Nick Senzel on Friday. The former first-round pick has also crushed lefties this season, and with the immienent return of Joey Votto, Jake Fraley, and Wil Myers, it'll be hard to get both Senzel and Newman in the game at the same time.
The Reds infield depth has been well documented this season, so why not deal from a position of strength if it would also help to open a spot on the activer roster? The Reds and Angels may well be contact over the next few days.