Orioles Fan Trade Proposal: Backing Up the Truck for Ohtani

Oct 4, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) bats during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) bats during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

One Orioles fan is willing to go all in to get Shohei Ohtani.

Regardless of the return, trading for Shohei Ohtani would be a dream scenario for the Baltimore Orioles.  On Monday I asked you, readers and fans, for your offseason trade proposals.  The first one I saw, unsurprisingly, involved the superstar SP/DH.  Even though the Angels have taken him off the trading block, it is too tempting to imagine what it would be like for the MVP to come to Baltimore.  With an impending sale of the team, the LA front office could decide it makes more financial sense to trade away an expensive player for controllable talent.

Or they could get an offer just too good to pass up.  Twitter user King_Of_Fedoras sent in this blockbuster offer:

Before we get into whether this is a good trade or not for the Orioles and Angels, I will give a reminder that evaluating trades is based on how balanced the two sides are and whether the trade actually makes sense for both teams.  Every trade requires figuring out the salaries and whether there is roster space.

What Would You Give Up for Shohei Ohtani?

First and foremost, this is an extremely aggressive offer.  The Orioles would be trading away two solid Major Leaguers in addition to four Top 100 prospects.  As a comparison, my trade proposal for Ohtani last month included “only” DL Hall, Joey Ortiz, Jordan Westburg, and Max Wagner.  Upgrading the prospect quality and adding two regulars is a huge difference.

Mike Elias will certainly have to overpay to convince the Angels to trade Ohtani, but even this offer might be a bit too much.  The Baseball Trade Values simulator says the Orioles would be giving up $137.7 million worth of value, more than twice what Ohtani is worth.  You could take out two players from this proposal and still thrill the LA front office.

The Orioles currently have 38 players on the 40-man roster, and this trade would bring them down to 36.  Ohtani would immediately slot in as the #1 starter and everyday DH while opening playing time in the infield.  Without other moves, Jorge Mateo would stick at shortstop, Gunnar Henderson would claim third base as his own, and Terrin Vavra could at least temporarily hold down second base.  The team would have to live with Anthony Santander playing defense every day.  The payroll would go up by roughly $29.7M, leaving the O’s with a CBT payroll of around $93M, according to Cot’s Contracts.

The Angels, meanwhile, have a full 40-man roster and would need to open two roster spots.  That’s a small price to pay since the fringes of the roster are pretty weak, and three of the six players in the package would be on their Opening Day roster.  Following a surprising trade for Gio Urshela, Urias would supplant Luis Rengifo and David Fletcher at second base, and he could then move over to third when Anthony Rendon inevitably gets hurt again.  Bradish would fight for and probably win a rotation spot, while Hall would be a multi-inning reliever at the beginning of the season.  The CBT payroll would drop from $189M to around $160M, freeing up money to make other win-now moves.

Regarding the farm system, the Orioles would lose roughly $129M worth of prospect value, which is definitely a lot, but they would only drop to around eleventh in the FanGraphs’ farm system rankings.  The weak Angels system would double in value and shoot up from 24th to eighth.  Holliday, Hall, Cowser, and Mayo would immediately be the top four prospects in the Angels system.  Baltimore would still have a very talented system to start the year, but it would plummet once Henderson and Grayson Rodriguez graduate.

The Verdict

Ultimately, there is no way Perry Minasian could turn this offer down.  No matter how much the Angels want to keep Ohtani, they would be getting way too much talent to keep resisting a trade.  The franchise has been stuck in neutral for over a decade, and this trade would raise both the floor and the ceiling of the team.  Ohtani can do a lot, but he can’t do everything.  Getting six good players at four different positions would be a huge boon.

For the Orioles, I can’t picture Elias giving up this much for anyone, not even rookie Barry Bonds.  He has built up such a deep talent pool that this trade would not mortgage the future, but he would need to resign Ohtani to make it worthwhile, which seems quite unlikely.  I honestly would hold my nose and make this deal but removing one or two players would still leave an impressive offer that Minasian would probably still accept.  Holliday, Hall, Cowser, and Urias would split the difference between my proposal and Fedoras’ offer.  Final grade: C+

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