Dodgers Rumors: Yankees trade deadline buzz could hurt LA's Shohei Ohtani pursuit

Could the trade deadline pose problems for the Dodgers' free agency plans?

Los Angeles Angels v New York Yankees
Los Angeles Angels v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Dodgers need help at the trade deadline, but they're by no means desperate. The New York Yankees, on the other hand? Their record may not appear to be bad, but they're in the worst possible shape a contender could be.

They have a ton of injuries. Their lineup has been exposed ever since Aaron Judge went down with an injury at Dodger Stadium. Their bullpen has been overused as a result of starting rotation issues (from injuries to regressions). They dismissed an assistant coach in-season for the first time in 25 years. They're currently out of the AL Wild Card picture.

They should be a lot better. They should be atop their division, based on the moves they've made over the last couple of years, but the roster is too old, the top prospects haven't given them the production they need, and they've failed to construct a wholly aligned roster with the ability to aid certain deficiencies.

In theory, acquiring a player like Shohei Ohtani would be a great fix for them. He can deepen their rotation, which has found a groove and should get healthier in the coming weeks, and he'd fill Judge's shoes in the meantime as the team's best hitter. Then, when Judge returns, they'd have the two best hitters in the league in the same lineup.

Sounds crazy, right? But ESPN's Buster Olney is claiming his sources believe the Yankees are the team most likely to chase Ohtani at the trade deadline if he becomes available.

Dodgers Rumors: Yankees trade deadline buzz could hurt LA's Shohei Ohtani pursuit

It's unclear if the Angels will bite, but there's no sense for them to keep Ohtani and then watch him leave in the offseason if they fall further out of contention over the next couple of weeks. They would have a prime opportunity to improve both their MLB roster and farm system if they were to put Ohtani on the market.

The Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers and Rays might be the four top contenders best suited to make a deal happen because of all the talent their organizations possess. But if the Dodgers feel they're the frontrunners for the two-way star in the offseason, why would they unload a ton of talent when they're likely to land him in just a few months?

On the flip side ... do they really want an historic franchise like the Yankees getting their hands on Ohtani, making a positive impression on him for the next few months, possibly winning a World Series, and gaining the ability to convince him to stay in the Bronx?

Even though Ohtani spurned the Yankees during his first free agency process when he was coming over from Japan, the possibility of him getting a taste of legend status in New York depending upon what happens if he's traded there could change his mind. Is all of this likely? No. But it's certainly possible.

The Dodgers certainly don't want to feel like their hand is forced and jump the gun on a blockbuster move they don't necessarily need to make in fear of losing a free agency battle. The silver lining here is that the Yankees aren't as aggressive as they once were, so a report like this feels more like smoke and mirrors than anything else. But New York also might be more desperate than they've ever been, so this will undoubtedly be a tough poker face to discern.