The shadow sweepstakes for Shohei Ohtani have been underway for some time.
Now it looks as though it will come into the light.
The Angels are in “listening mode” on trade proposals for the two-way megastar, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported Saturday, adding that teams must be ready to offer multiple top-100 prospects.
A trade is still considered unlikely, Morosi added, but as The Post’s Jon Heyman previously reported, the Angels are moving away from their no-sell stance, as they fell below .500 prior to the All-Star break.
Ohtani is well on his way to a second MVP award, as he leads baseball in slugging percentage (.659), OPS (1.046) and home runs (32) while also putting together a park-adjusted ERA 26 percent above league average.
It is on course to be one of the greatest single seasons in league history, and Ohtani is entrenching himself as one of the great players of this era.
The right-hander did exit a start Friday early due to finger pain, and he’s dealt with a blister and cracked fingernail for a handful of starts.
But those are unlikely to become long-term issues.
The Angels, however, must factor in their own lack of success as well as the reality that Ohtani will be a free agent following this season and could walk away for free.
It is not entirely clear what the 29-year-old will command as a free agent, only that it will be an enormous sum of money — perhaps one of the biggest contracts in the game’s history.
The Dodgers, Padres, Yankees and Mets are among the teams that have been linked with a potential Ohtani deal.
Angels owner Arte Moreno has shown reticence over dealing Ohtani in the past, and Heyman reported last week that people who know Moreno say they still don’t think he would do so.
But as the Angels continue to slip down the standings, the possibility must be considered if they do not believe he will re-sign.
Even for a few months of Ohtani’s services, the price tag would be massive, and a potential trade will be the biggest story in the sport from now until the August 1 deadline.