Though the Angels are comfortably above .500 and only 4.0 games out of a Wild Card spot as they await the return of Mike Trout, nobody was going to rule out a Shohei Ohtani trade until the deadline passed and there was no room for further speculation ... until Anaheim ruled it out themselves with a report on Wednesday night followed by a blockbuster trade.
It was unclear what the Halos are going to do, but what we do know is that a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers seemed unlikely based on the reports that dropped about Arte Moreno's unwillingness to make such a deal. But shortly after it was reported the Angels would not be selling Ohtani, they quickly added Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez in a trade with the Chicago White Sox. Full buy mode.
Before that, though, some fans assumed worst-case scenario in the event Ohtani got dealt and Moreno wanted to further spite the Dodgers and put the two-way star in the NL West. Might the San Diego Padres have been among his top choices?
It's tough to say. The Angels would've theoretically gotten a better offer from the Arizona Diamondbacks, but the Padres, despite emptying their farm for Juan Soto last year, still had plenty to offer. They might've been putting themselves in a tough position by depleting it further, but they'd at least have the chance to trade Soto and someone like Ha-seong Kim in the offseason to replenish it.
MLB.com recently came up with a number of Ohtani trade proposals in preparation for the deadline approaching, and their suggested offer from San Diego was actually not that heavy but could've still enticed Anaheim.
Dodgers fans avoided disaster with MLB.com's Padres-Shohei Ohtani trade proposal
Here's what MLB.com surmised could've gotten the job done for the Pads in a deal for Ohtani:
SS Jackson Merrill (Padres No. 1 prospect, No. 9 overall), RHP Dylan Lesko (Padres No. 3 prospect, No. 64 overall), RHP Adam Mazur (Padres No. 6 prospect), RHP Alek Jacob (Padres No. 26 prospect), LHP Ryan Weathers
RHP Bobby Miller, C Diego Cartaya (Dodgers No. 1 prospect, No. 19 overall), INF Michael Busch (Dodgers No. 2 prospect, No. 34 overall), RHP Nick Nastrini (Dodgers No. 9 prospect), RHP Kyle Hurt (Dodgers No. 27 prospect) and C Thayron Liranzo
The Dodgers would've likely paid a premium if they got involved in the bidding, but as you can see, the Padres still could've put together a formidable package. And if they wanted to finish off their "go-for-it-all" job, one final push for Ohtani would've given them the necessary boost they needed in the starting rotation and middle of the lineup. At 49-54, they still have ground to make up, but adding the best player in the league should've helped them erase seven-game deficit in the Wild Card race. All they needed to do is get into the playoffs. They have the Cy Young frontrunner in Blake Snell and a superstar in Soto that would've helped lead the charge alongside Ohtani. If Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Jake Cronenworth and Yu Darvish were able to bounce back, they could've been one of the most dangerous teams heading into October.
This obviously would've required a ton of moving parts, but AJ Preller's aggression could've very easily been the catalyst, and he's upended the trade deadline before. It's been fun laughing at the Padres this year ... and it seems we can keep laughing because they might've lost their only life raft.