ESPN insider Jeff Passan couldn't find a deal he liked in a hypothetical Shohei Ohtani trade ... until his fellow writer Bradford Doolittle started talking Dodgers prospects and stacking them on top of each other. Suddenly, his ears perked up.
That's amazing news! The Dodgers have the juice! Nobody else does! Experts agree! It's also terrible news, because Angels steward Arte Moreno won't listen to the list of names that overwhelmed Passan.
Nevertheless, Passan's turn playing house as the "Angels GM" is still an exciting read for Dodgers fans, considering it lays out exactly how difficult it would be for any of their competitors to secure two months of Ohtani's services -- and how costly the risk could get.
If you're the Rays, you have to surrender Junior Caminero. If you're the Yankees, Jasson Dominguez. If you're the Diamondbacks, Jordan Lawlar.
And then, at the end of all that confusion, the Dodgers will be there waiting with a blank check when the dust settles anyway. Bummer. Best of luck!
Dodgers Shohei Ohtani trade package: Thumbs up?
The Dodgers were the only team to get the seal of approval from Passan, though the Texas Rangers' prospect grouping (plus Zeke Duran) came close.
The winning package? Starters Nick Nastrini, Ryan Pepiot, Gavin Stone and Emmet Sheehan, along with catcher Dalton Rushing and teenaged outfield lottery ticket Josue De Paula. Now that's how you blow someone who's been unwilling to chat out of the water.
In this trade, both Bobby Miller and Diego Cartaya would be safe in LA's vaunted system, and so would young big-leaguers like Michael Busch, James Outman and Miguel Vargas. Still, that's an awful lot of talent to surrender to jump the line, and would decimate the Dodgers' current big-league rotation (though, again, Ohtani would obviously help there). Passan called Rushing the "best player" dangled in any deal, for what it's worth.
As we've repeatedly theorized in recent months, the Dodgers have made a concerted effort to talk up pitchers like Nastrini and Sheehan, while vaulting the latter to the big leagues to show his stuff. The stronger the middle pitching tier of the Dodgers' farm gets (remember River Ryan, too), the better chance Andrew Friedman has of shocking the world.
In a vacuum. Remember, Moreno's not interested ... unless ... he starts to listen to everyone else and finds himself in the same position as Passan, underwhelmed by every offer that doesn't come from the Dodgers. Keep hope alive. If this exercise taught us anything, it's that the Dodgers are the team to beat, whether their opportunity comes in July or December.