Is Scherzer-Turner deal fair guide for Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani trade?

Adam Weinrib
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 19: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels looks against the National League during the 92nd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at Dodger Stadium on July 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 19: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels looks against the National League during the 92nd MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at Dodger Stadium on July 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, with their miracle-working new ownership group still a theory rather than a reality, might have to entertain trading mega-star Shohei Ohtani this offseason as he enters the final year of his contract.

Unsurprisingly, Ohtani returned home to Japan this week claiming dissatisfaction with the way the Angels’ season turned out. It wasn’t a trade demand or declaration of war; Ohtani was merely mentioning how unpleasant it was to experience a 14-game losing streak, the loss of a manager, and another August and September playing out the string.

That said, if the Angels can’t convince him to extend alongside Mike Trout for another long-term go at this, then they might want to try to import a trade haul instead.

Despite Ohtani’s unappealing one year of control, that year has the chance to be glorious for whichever team wants to shell out a bounty of prospects for an ace pitcher who can also drill 40 homers from the DH spot.

Which MLB teams can really afford to dump an historic trade package for Ohtani, then make it worth their while with a multi-year extension that could approach a record-setting AAV? Count the Dodgers and Mets among them, but it’s a very small group. In an attempt to predict the unprecedented and come up with a trade package that makes some sense, people are pointing to last summer’s Dodgers deal that netter them a year and a half of Trea Turner and a half-season of Max Scherzer. But is that really a fair guide?

What would Dodgers-Shohei Ohtani trade package look like?

The equation here seems to be, “One Year of Ohtani the Pitcher + One Year of Ohtani the Hitter = 1.5 Years of Turner/0.5 Years of Scherzer“. And that sounds fair! But in reality, all this discourse does is illuminate how the Dodgers actually escaped that Turner/Scherzer deal with a comparatively light package.

The trade deadline is supposed to be the time of year when desperate teams are gouged most egregiously as they attempt to outbid their rivals with a hard stop at 4:00 PM. All it cost for the Dodgers to leap the Padres for Turner/Scherzer was their top two “elite” prospects and two more anonymous names?

Keibert Ruiz was also clearly blocked by Will Smith last summer, and would make no sense as a third catcher behind Austin Barnes (with Diego Cartaya climbing up from behind). If the Dodgers hadn’t dealt Ruiz to Washington, they would’ve found an alternate destination for him, but they never would’ve kept him.

Despite recent evidence to the contrary, Ruiz/Gray/two others doesn’t feel like nearly enough for even one season of Ohtani. The Angels will surely ask for three of the Dodgers’ top five prospects, control be damned. Or maybe this deal ends up including two of their tippy-top prospects (Miguel Vargas and Bobby Miller), as well as a big-league piece like Tony Gonsolin?

Bottom line? Using last summer as a blueprint is a fun exercise, but it only serves to illuminate how lucky the Dodgers got in their dealings with Washington. The conversation with the Angels won’t be quite as pleasant.

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