There are a ton of rumors swirling that the Los Angeles Angels will listen to offers for Shohei Ohtani at the MLB Trade Deadline. Whether or not a deal gets done is still far from known. One thing’s for sure though, it will take a massive offer to pry Shohei Ohtani away from the Angels. Is this the same scenario that we saw last year with Juan Soto being traded from the Washington Nationals to the San Diego Padres? No, not quite. However, in terms of star power and impact it certainly is that big. Ohtani is slated to be a free agent at the end of the 2023 MLB season which makes him a two-month rental for most teams unless they strike an extension deal. One that could be in the $600 million range. Just what kind of deals are we looking at for Ohtani? Who is able to put a package together of that caliber? What happens to Shohei Ohtani’s value for fantasy baseball, as well as the prospects traded, if an Ohtani trade does happen? That’s what we’re talking about in this week’s Fantasy Baseball Prospect Report.
We’ll be referencing my Top-400 Prospect Rankings for the rankings and farm system depth mentioned for the trade packages.
Are we getting back to the time where the Yankees are players for the big name trade deadline pieces? Well, at least for Ohtani we are. They have a very deep farm system and they have a lot of need. Not only for an arm but possibly more for a bat. The package would almost assuredly begin with Spencer Jones, a five-tool outfielder ranked 25th in baseball who has 12 HR and 21 SB at High-A this year. The next piece is likely Everson Pereira, an outfielder ranked 69th in baseball, who does a little bit of everything well and is currently hitting .304 with 11 homers and seven steals across Double-A and Triple-A this year. The third top-100 piece that would likely be included is Chase Hampton, a right-handed pitcher ranked 83rd overall. He’s really had a rise this year following being drafted in the sixth round of the 2022 draft. Hampton’s pitched 74.2 innings thus far with 110 Ks, 25 BBs, and a 3.13 ERA and 1.04 WHIP across multiple levels. He draws comps to Hayden Wesneski and Ken Waldichuk who were also traded out of the Yankees’ farm system. When we add in Trey Sweeney at middle infield, Roderick Arias, potentially moving to third base, and Drew Thorpe, a righty with a floor as a starter. That’s an attractive and deep package. It’s possible the Angels would ask for an arm like Clark Schmidt instead of a prospect to fill in the spot in the rotation left by Ohtani’s departure.
It’s been a while since the Orioles were buyers at the deadline but with the second-best record in the AL, that’s where they are this year. It’s also been a while since we’ve talked about a deep Baltimore farm system, but again, with three top-15 prospects, six top-100 players, and 19 top-400 players, that’s where we are. You’d have to think that the package would start with two of Colton Cowser, Jordan Westburg, Heston Kjerstad, and Coby Mayo heading to L.A. That would give them an interesting and toolsy combo of infield and outfield help. Then add to that Joey Ortiz as an MLB ready middle infielder and we’re getting closer. Cade Povich, a high-strikeout lefty starter who has number 2-3 starter upside fits well in this deal as does either Jud Fabian, a power-speed outfielder, or Seth Johnson, a high-strikeout righty gotten from Houston in a 2022 trade deadline deal. When you look at the totality of the Orioles potential package it would give the Angels at minimum three MLB-ready bats for an offense that needs it and potentially two mid-rotation starters who are a year away to make a solid rotation sans Ohtani.
Would the Angels really trade their best player to a division rival run by their former GM? If they get the right price, sure. We just heard Mariners’ GM Jerry DiPoto talking about how they’d have to make a move to help their offense and he’s never been afraid to make a splash. Enter Ohtani. Aside from the prospects, which we’ll get to in a minute, Seattle is a great fit for Ohtani simply given the admiration he has for Ichiro and how positively he views the fans in Seattle as well as the sponsorships that will transfer well to the Pacific Northwest. Harry Ford, the Mariners’ top prospect and a top-30 overall player, would have to lead the package. There’s no doubt he can stay behind the plate and become a Will Smith or J.T. Realmuto type catcher. Gabriel Gonzalez, their number two prospect and 63rd overall, would be next as a high-average, high-on-base corner outfielder with good pop. Jonathan Clase, their third ranked prospect and 71st overall, would likely also need to be included to give the Angels something they don’t have — speed. Clase has a 75-grade speed tool and has 53 steals in 79 games this year split between High-A and Double-A. Because they are division rivals, I’d expect the Mariners to have to include a few more top prospects too. For instance including guys like Tyler Locklear, their fifth-ranked prospect at 88th overall, who is a big bat and glove at the corner infield spots. Then likely two more high upside players like Felnin Celesten at shortstop and Lazaro Montas in the outfield who are both at the DSL level. Both have very high upsides with Celesten a potential top-five overall prospect down the road and Montas looking like a young Yordan Alvarez.
We haven’t seen Tampa go after the huge trade deadline pieces before, but there’s never been an Ohtani on the market, and they’ve not needed this much help. Sure, they’re still having a great year but the pitchers on the IL right now are starting to show cracks in the armor. The Rays also have something others don’t, an ability to give nearly an entire starting infield of MLB-ready prospects along with two frontline starters. It would start with Kyle Manzardo, the elite first base bat who’d be up in the majors if he were on any other team. He ranks seventh overall in baseball in my rankings. Another guy who’d be up in the majors on any other team is Curtis Mead, a 2B/3B who ranks 43rd overall. He has a double-plus Hit tool and above-average Power tool that fits well at both spots. Osleivis Basabe who is seventh in the Tampa Bay system, is a high-average, above-average speed infielder who offers a ton of versatility. There’s the starting infield options. What about the frontline starters? Mason Montgomery and Cole Wilcox are currently anchoring the Double-A Montgomery rotation with a combined 172 strikeouts in 139.2 combined innings. They also offer a left-right punch at the top of the rotation and would allow Reid Detmers and Patrick Sandoval to slide to 3-4 in the rotation.
You know what would turn the whole narrative of the season around for the Mets? A huge trade for Ohtani who they can then start to negotiate with for an extension. In order to do that though, they’d have to empty out their farm system that’s just starting to get deep. The prospects they’ve brought up earlier this year would be the anchor of the deal with Ronny Mauricio and Mark Vientos not having long-term homes in Queens but being MLB-ready bats. Mauricio is a power-speed combo middle infielder who’d make a great double-play combo with Zach Neto and Vientos is Pete Alonso lite for the corner infield where L.A. is desperately needing help. We could add Jett Williams, a shortstop who’s their fourth-ranked prospect and burgeoning on the top-100. He profiles as a center fielder with above-average Hit and Speed tools and average Power. Couple them with Blake Tidwell and Mike Vasil, two right-handed starters who profile as number 2 and 3 starters respectively, and it’s a solid package that’s close to the others. If another piece is needed we could see them throw in Colin Houck, the Mets’ first-round pick this year who profiles as an All-Star third baseman eventually.
Is there any team hotter in MLB right now? At least in terms of conversation starters? The one thing they need right now is a frontline starter to stake claim to the top of the NL Central. While the offense isn’t necessarily needed, you can make an argument that Ohtani is still better than any DH they’d be rolling out and makes a bat or two expendable. That’s the advantage the Reds have — trading at least one MLB player if not two along with big name prospects. We could see a combo of Spencer Steer, Jake Fraley, and Nick Senzel sent to L.A. in the deal along with the prospects. Speaking of prospects, it would start with Noelvi Marte, the 16th ranked prospect overall. He fits at shortstop and third base as a 25-25 bat in the middle of the order. Put Cam Collier and Edwin Arroyo in the list and that’s three top-86 prospects in the package. Collier profiles as a high-average, average-power corner infielder and Arroyo is a switch-hitting middle infield bat in the mold of Andrelton Simmons. They could throw in, excuse the pun, a couple of starters as well in Chase Petty and Connor Phillips who are both mid-rotation prospects with high-strikeout upside. Or if they don’t want to give up both, they could add in one of their current rotation pieces instead. Just imagine Ohtani launching bombs at Great American Ball Park.
Didn’t Derek Jeter leave because they weren’t willing to add pieces to compete? Yes, but that was before they had the best first half of a season they’ve had in a long time. The Marlins are probably the least likely team on this list to make this move, but when the window to compete opens, even they know they have to take advantage of it. There has been arguably one thing the Angels have struggled to develop more than anything else and that’s starting pitching. Miami has that in droves. In fact, in my rankings, four of the top-six prospects for the Marlins are all starters. I wouldn’t expect their top picks from 2023 in Noble Meyer and Thomas White to be included but they could still include some high level arms nonetheless. Max Meyer is recovering from Tommy John Surgery but could fit in a package as the Marlins’ top prospect. We could also be looking at Dax Fulton and Jake Eder who both are top-half of the rotation starters from the left side of the pitching rubber. If Sixto Sanchez can stay healthy he could entice a team to take a shot on his rehab and nab an ace-caliber arm as part of the deal. There are also arms like Sean Reynolds, an elite-fastball reliever, and Patrick Monteverde, a mid-rotation lefty starter, who are deeper in their system. When you add in guys like Jacob Berry and Yiddi Cappe as corner infield bats the Marlins could make an interesting pitch to the Angels though perhaps one that needs more MLB talent than the others on this list.
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