Dodgers could blow Angels away with this Shohei Ohtani trade package

Thomas Carannante
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 19: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after a single by Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning during the 92nd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at Dodger Stadium on July 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 19: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after a single by Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning during the 92nd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at Dodger Stadium on July 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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The LA Angels might be reluctant to part with Shohei Ohtani … but what’s their recourse? He’s a free agent after 2022 and the Angels continue to sputter (on pace for a remarkable 95 losses) with no direction in sight. With Mike Trout signed through 2030, it might be easier to keep the three-time MVP and begin another re-tool/rebuild.

So, how can the Los Angeles Dodgers help?

Look, trading Trout and signing Ohtani long term might be the better plan here, but how much value would the Angels really get in return for a 30-year-old player making $35.5 million per season for the next eight years?

It might sound crazy, but Ohtani, the best two-way player the game’s seen in 100 years, might fetch better value because of his cheap contract this year and next, as well as the undeniable international influence he brings to any franchise (yeah, there’s a lot of money in that).

Ohtani has 40-homer power and has pitched to a 2.80 ERA in 16 starts this year (134 strikeouts in 93.1 innings and a sub-1.00 WHIP). For a team like the Dodgers in desperate need of another impact starter as well as a lefty bat that actually produces (sorry, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy), they might be willing to pay the ultimate premium to maximize their World Series window this year and next.

And who knows? Maybe a contract extension could be on the horizon (Ohtani said during the All-Star break that he loves playing at Dodger Stadium!).

What would a Dodgers-Angels trade package for Shohei Ohtani look like?

OK, it’s evident this is on the unrealistic side, but this won’t be anywhere close to the insanity ESPN proposed a few weeks back. Can’t even believe that was put out there for the public to see.

Nonetheless, despite the Angels reportedly being “reluctant” to trade Ohtani, it’s silly to believe anything until the deadline finally passes. Fans have been shocked beyond belief before, most recently with the Dodgers’ acquisition of Max Scherzer and Trea Turner a year ago.

If the Angels were to relent and see trading Ohtani as an opportunity to turn things around, perhaps this deal could work:

Dodgers Receive:

  • SP/DH Shohei Ohtani
  • RP Aaron Loup

Angels Receive:

  • 2B/SS Gavin Lux
  • SP Dustin May
  • No. 3 prospect INF Michael Busch
  • No. 4 prospect Andy Pages

Ohtani is the crown jewel, and the Dodgers getting Loup could help the bullpen (lefty specialist who’s arguably being used poorly by the Angels). Loup is also signed through 2023, and the Angels would benefit from getting rid of his salary for this year and next.

As for the rest of the deal, Lux going to the Angels gives them a middle infielder of the future, which is beyond valuable in this day and age. May, who’s on a rehab assignment, will more than likely be a starting pitching asset and, like Lux, is controllable for a while. This would help the Angels remain competitive now (or, er, become competitive) without having to worry about losing these young talents in the near future.

Toss in a couple of top prospects in Busch and Pages, and you have yourself a comprehensive trade. Busch should be MLB-ready by next season and Pages, after raking in High-A last year, is doing the same in Double-A (16 homers, 50 RBI, .804 OPS) in 2022. He’s not far off either.

Such a deal doesn’t hurt the Dodgers in the short-term (they can slide Chris Taylor — once he returns — back to second base in place of Lux) and they’ve now survived over a full year without May, clearly showing they can thrive without him. As for making up ground in the top prospect department, they would still have Miguel Vargas and Jorbit Vivas as heir most promising infielders, as well as James Outman as a viable option after Pages.

Too much? Not enough? This would be a trade like we’ve never seen before, so it’s particularly difficult to pin down, but perhaps this could be a logical starting point for both sides.

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