MLB pundits offer realistic lineup for Ohtani trade package originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
If the Los Angeles Angels were to trade Shohei Ohtani this summer, what should they expect in return?
Trading the two-way superstar and American League MVP favorite would certainly net the Angels a historic streak of prospects. Or would it be?
Orange County Angels beat writer Jeff Fletcher spoke with former MLB general manager Jim Duquette and an unnamed current executive about Ohtani’s value, and offered a possible lineup for what a trade package might look like.
Duquette and the anonymous executive believe leads may be limited because Ohtani is a hire and fair market value may not match Ohtani’s perceived value.
“There are a lot of teams that will say, ‘I don’t care how good his hire is, I can’t give you hundreds of millions of dollars in future value,'” the executive told Fletcher. “It will wipe out a handful of clubs. … I just don’t know where the obvious fit is, where someone is desperate to give this complete overpayment.
“That’s why it’s so difficult to trade him,” added Duquette. “Anything less and you feel like you’ve been cheated. And you have to sell Arte Moreno, who is one of the toughest owners in the sport.
So, realistically, how much would it cost to trade for Ohtani?
“Probably the best lineup for an Ohtani trade in years is one in which two premium players were moved — ace Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner were traded from the Washington Nationals to the Dodgers at the 2021 deadline,” Fletcher wrote.
“Scherzer was a rental pitcher, like Ohtani. Turner obviously isn’t as valuable offensively as Ohtani, but he plays shortstop and – more importantly – he had a full year of control left.”
The Nationals traded Scherzer and Turner in exchange for Los Angeles’ two top prospects at the time, wide receiver Keibert Ruiz (MLB No. 41) and right-hander Josiah Gray (MLB No. 42) plus the team’s 17th right-handed prospect Gerardo Carrillo and outfielder Donovan Casey.
Duquette told Fletcher it’s “fair” to say Ohtani is worth roughly the same as Scherzer and Turner, while the unnamed exec said it’s “probably good enough,” in terms of comparison. However, if the Angels were to receive a similar number of prospects, Duquette believes the move would not sit well within the organization and with the fan base overall.
“People would be outraged if you looked at it that way,” Duqette said. “But that’s the reality. Within the Anaheim fan base, you would say that’s not enough.
If the Dodgers’ and Nationals’ blockbuster trade were to serve as the precise framework for the Giants’ eventual trade package with the Angels, what would a deal look like? First, the Giants’ top two prospects (Kyle Harrison and Marco Luciano) are currently ranked 11th and 15th on MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects list compared to Ruiz and Gray who were ranked 41st and 42nd, respectively, at the time.
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However, Ohtani will certainly be more liked by Angels owner Arte Moreno and general manager Perry Minasian than Scherzer and Turner were by the Nationals front office at the time. A similar frame would likely include the Giants’ top two prospects (Harrison and Luciano), a mid-tier prospect (Keaton Winn, Will Bednar, Jairo Pomares, Carson Seymour or Heliot Ramos?) and a lower-tier prospect.
Would this set of prospects convince the Angels, who were previously determined not to trade Ohtani under any circumstances until they “considered” the idea in recent days? Probably not.
As unlikely as an Ohtani trade is at this point, it could be even more unlikely that a team will approach the asking price of an Angels copper that seeks a historic carry for a historic player.
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