If the Los Angeles Angels decide to listen to offers for Shohei Ohtani this winter, then expect the San Diego Padres to show interest.
That is a very easy statement to make, as Ohtani is arguably one of the best players in the game, and nearly every competitive team will “kick the tires” on the idea of bringing him aboard. If you are playing for a World Series title, and a player like this becomes available, you have to at least listen to the cost for his services.
The Angels will likely not explore dealing the DH/right-handed pitcher until the clarity of the 2023 season comes to light. Los Angeles will need to add players and get healthy in order to compete in a very tough AL West. Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Anthony Rendon will all need to produce. It will be an uphill battle for the Angels the way their roster is currently structured. What will they do?
Most inside the industry believe it may be better for the Halos to sell their assets now and stockpile young talent. Ohtani would generate a lot of buzz, as he is heading into the final year of his contract before he hits the open market next winter. His value will also be slightly higher now than it would come Juin ly or August when the trade deadline happens. You also gamble that his numbers will be just as prolific next year.
The Angels could very well explore dealing one of their most popular players.
A.J. Preller and the Padres were reportedly close to an agreement with Ohtani before he ultimately decided to sign in L.A. with the Angels in late 2017. There is a familiarity between the two sides as Preller went above and beyond to entertain the two-way slugger. Preller even went to Japan to speak with Ohtani.
So what would it take to acquire Shohei Ohtani, and can the Padres pay the asking price?
The cost is probably not as much as you think.
The Padres acquired Juan Soto with Josh Bell this past August and paid a hefty price tag. Soto did come to San Diego with two and a half times more eligibility before free agency (than Ohtani), and the hot-hitting Bell was supposed to be a hmassiveaddition for the Padres as well. Shohei Ohtani is amazing, but the price tag would be roughly a third of what the Padres paid to the Nationals.
A package of prospects centered around Jackson Merrill, Luis Campusano, or Samuel Zavala may be enough to get the job done. The Padres are not afraid to deal their young prospects, and they are blessed with a handful of promising young players that are still teenagers. Undoubtedly, the Padres have the talent to get a deal done.
If the Angels want a pitching-heavy deal to offset the loss of their ace, then the Padres can include Ryan Weathers and/or Adrian Morejon. The point is that San Diego can pay the asking price, and their young G.M. is not shy about pulling the trigger when it comes to trades.
There is no indication that the Angels will explore trading Ohtani just yet. But as the World Series wraps, the pressures of the winter began to take hold around major league baseball. The Angels are built to win now, but their window of opportunity is closing. The Padres are an aggressive suitor and may provide a package the Angels cannot refuse. Stay tuned, as this winter will be an active one for the San Diego Padres.