Major League Baseball
Shohei Ohtani trade proposals: Ben Verlander picks favorite among 12 teams
Major League Baseball

Shohei Ohtani trade proposals: Ben Verlander picks favorite among 12 teams

Published Jul. 26, 2023 8:00 a.m. ET

We've talked a lot about potential Shohei Ohtani trades over the past few weeks. I still do not think he'll ultimately get dealt, which is why I did not list him in my top five trade candidates

But when my esteemed colleagues at MLB on FOXDeesha Thosar, Jake Mintz, Jordan Shusterman and Rowan Kavner — crafted detailed trade proposals for 12 different teams that might be in on Ohtani, I wanted to weigh in.

Again, this is assuming Ohtani gets traded. The future of the Los Angeles Angels rides on what happens this next week. I ultimately do not know what the Angels will do, and I am not even sure team owner Arte Moreno knows what he will do.

But since we're still a few days away from clarity on that front, I'm going to take a look at each of the hypothetical trades that our writers cooked up and give my take on whether I like it, whether I think it's a possibility, and whether I think it would be a good fit. In order to keep things a little simpler, these are all proposals where Ohtani would be the only piece going back to each respective team.


Let's dive in!

Seattle Mariners: RHP Bryce Miller, SS Cole Young, RHP Emerson Hancock, OF Cade Marlowe, RHP Ashton Izzi

One thing is for sure: The Mariners have the MLB-ready pitching surplus it would take to get Ohtani. The Mariners are one of the five teams I had as top potential landing spots for Ohtani, though I was looking more long term with that list. 

Trading for Ohtani would be a good way to get him into town and show him why it would be a good place to play. We have three top pitching prospects here, including Miller who's already in the big leagues, so it makes sense for the Angels. I think it's a good fit all around, thought I doubt the Angels would actually do it.

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San Diego Padres: OF Samuel Zavala, RHP Jairo Iriarte, LHP Jackson Wolf, RHP Ryan Bergert, OF Jakob Marsee, RHP Kevin Kopps

One thing the Padres have going in their favor is an owner in Peter Seidler who is willing to spend money. We saw him try to get in on the Aaron Judge sweepstakes with the highest deal right at the buzzer. That money is burning a hole in his pocket, and boy does he have a chance to spend it this winter on Ohtani. 

Do they trade for him, though? They somehow still have a bunch of young, talented prospects even after the Juan Soto deal last year. It's a good fit even amid the Padres' historically disappointing season, because they're still on the West Coast and they're still capable of going on a run and sneaking into the playoffs. I could see this happening.

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Cincinnati Reds: INF/OF Spencer Steer, RHP Connor Phillips, 3B Sal Stewart, RHP Joe Boyle, INF Rece Hinds

First off, if I'm the Reds, I don't foresee Ohtani in Cincinnati long term. I don't see a world in which he ends up there at all unless it's via a trade like this. But do I see the Reds, who are just now on the cusp of what appears to be a long run of being good after so many down years, trading a lot of that promising young core away for Ohtani? No, I do not. I have not seen this owner and this front office be recklessly aggressive like that at any point. They now have an opportunity right in front of them for some aggression, but I don't see them trading for Ohtani.

San Francisco Giants: CF Luis Matos, LHP Carson Whisenhunt, 1B/LHP Reggie Crawford, OF Wade Meckler, OF Heliot Ramos

The Giants certainly have what it takes to get Ohtani. If I was the Angels, I would like this trade. The Giants were also one of my top five potential long-term landing spots for him, and I do think there is a chance he ultimately ends up in San Francisco, especially after they lost out on Judge and Carlos Correa last winter. Again, trading for him would help your cause. Incidentally — one of these players, Reggie Crawford, is also for now at least a two-way player. That would be such a fascinating trade to see two-way players swapped for each other. 

I think the teams that should push harder to trade for Ohtani should be the teams that really think they have a chance to sign him long term in the offseason. Whereas I don't see Ohtani re-signing with the Reds, which is why I don't think they should jeopardize so much of their future for him, I think the Giants absolutely fit the criteria as a possible long-term destination.

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Philadelphia Phillies: SP Mick Abel, 2B Bryson Stott, IF Hao Yu-Lee, RHP Alex McFarlane, SS Bryan Rincon

I don't love this one. When it comes to these trades for Ohtani and what it's going to take to get a guy like him, he's not your typical star rental. I feel like this is a typical get-a-star-at-the-deadline trade package, not one to get Ohtani at the deadline. 

Stott is a good MLB player, but we now know what he's like in the big leagues and we have enough of a clue to know he's probably not going to be a star, and none of the prospects really stand out to me. I don't foresee Ohtani in Philadelphia long term either, which complicates things even more.

Baltimore Orioles: IF Coby Mayo, OF Colton Cowser, OF Jud Fabian, IF Joey Ortiz, RHP Justin Armbruester, RHP Trace Bright

The Orioles are an interesting one for me. They have arrived, but they are not over the hump yet. They also still have what it takes prospect-wise to get Ohtani. So, the question becomes, how much of the future do you give away to get a guy like Ohtani? It's dependent on a few things: Does he push your team over the top? For the Orioles right now, that answer is yes. Next, can you get him without fully gutting your minor-league depth and jeopardizing your future? Again, for the Orioles, I would say yes, because, as you notice, the name Jackson Holliday is missing in this package. 

Holliday, son of former All-Star Matt Holliday, is the No. 1 prospect in baseball right now according to MLB Pipeline. He's a 19-year-old who has all the makings of being a future superstar in this league. The Orioles have drafted very well over the past few years, and now they have the depth to make a trade like this one. 

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I don't see Ohtani re-signing in Baltimore for the long term, but this is a team that has what it takes to afford him and still preserve their future — and become the favorites to win it all with Ohtani in the fold, even as a rental. However, based on everything we have heard coming out of Baltimore about how they will not be reckless at this deadline with an eye toward their future, I don't see this deal ultimately happening.

Los Angeles Dodgers: RHP Emmet Sheehan, RHP Gavin Stone, INF Michael Busch, C Dalton Rushing, OF Andy Pages, RHP River Ryan

We've heard some conflicting things about the Dodgers' role in these Ohtani sweepstakes. First, we heard that Moreno was not willing to trade Ohtani to the Dodgers. Then, over the past few days, we've heard that the Dodgers are not completely out of the picture. If any team should be willing to be overly aggressive in a trade for Ohtani, it should be the Dodgers for many of the reasons I have already mentioned. They are my No. 1 potential landing spot for him this offseason. They have what it takes in terms of prospects — this is a really strong package. Most importantly, it would allow Ohtani to get into the building at Chavez Ravine and get comfortable with everyone. 

I hope people understand how important of a factor that is, and getting a test run at a place like the Dodgers, who appear very willing and very able to sign him in the offseason, is the best-case scenario. The advantage to the Dodgers here is that instead of going on something like a blind date with him in the offseason, they can bring him in now and let him build chemistry with his teammates, giving them an advantage when it's time for a long-term deal.

With a few exceptions, I think that if Ohtani does get traded somewhere, that team boosts its chances of signing him in the offseason, and the Dodgers definitely have what it takes. This would be a good trade.

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Toronto Blue Jays: LHP Ricky Tiedemann, INF Addison Barger, INF Santiago Espinal, RHP Yosver Zulueta, UT Otto Lopez

I don't foresee Ohtani ending up in Canada long term, either. Sorry, Blue Jays fans. Yes, Espinal was an All-Star last year, but he's not having a great year this year, and Tiedemann is not a good enough headlining prospect for the rest of this to work. Based on everything we have heard, for the Angels to trade Ohtani, it would have to be for an offer that they absolutely could not refuse. This Blue Jays offer is not close to that.

Texas Rangers: RHP Jack Leiter, RHP Owen White, UT Ezequiel Durán, OF Aaron Zavala, IF Justin Foscue, RHP Emiliano Teodo

I like this package. Leiter was a top draft pick, I think Foscue will be really good, and Durán has looked promising. The Rangers are another team where, even though I don't foresee Ohtani ending up there long term, they have shown that they are willing to go all-in to compete. I don't think the Angels should hesitate to try to deplete a division rival's farm system, either, especially if they think Ohtani will not re-sign with them. 

New York Yankees: OF Jasson Domínguez, INF Oswald Peraza, OF Spencer Jones, INF Gleyber Torres

I like this, too. We know what Torres can do, and I believe Domínguez is a future superstar. If the Angels can get Domínguez back in this trade along with guys like Torres and Peraza, who have already contributed at the big-league level, as well as another prospect in Jones, I would do it. Plus, the Yankees are definitely a possible long-term landing spot for Ohtani. 

When I sat down with Ohtani last year, he told me he wants to be known not just within baseball but beyond the sport. Where better to make that happen than with the New York Yankees? Love them or hate them, they are one of the biggest and most recognizable sports franchises and brands in the history of the world.

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Boston Red Sox: SS Marcelo Mayer, RHP Brayan Bello, 2B Nick Yorke, OF/SS Ceddanne Rafaela

I don't love this one, and I don't foresee Ohtani in Boston. Don't get me wrong, I think Bello is a stud who is coming into his own this year, but I just don't see this happening despite the big-name prospects in this deal.

Houston Astros: OF Drew Gilbert, RHP Hunter Brown, OF Colin Barber, OF Ryan Clifford

If I am the Angels, and I can get a trade with the Astros that gets me both Drew Gilbert and Hunter Brown, I have to consider it. Again, the intradivision factor is in play here. I don't think Ohtani would re-sign with the Astros and I also doubt that the Astros would actually trade for him. But in this hypothetical world where you can get Gilbert and Brown, this is enticing. In the real world, though, I do not see this happening in either direction. Several teams might check in on him and the Astros could be one of them, but I think that is as far as it will go.

And the best offer is …

The Yankees. Of these 12 hypothetical offers, the best one and the most likely one, I do believe, is actually the Yankees. This is dependent on them improving over the next week — they've been struggling before that series against the Royals, after all, and even got swept by the Angels themselves last week. I don't think they make this move if they are not in a position to really push for a playoff spot. A week can make a huge difference, and a tough losing streak that knocks them behind some more teams in the wild-card race probably takes them out of proposing a serious trade offer. But if they keep pace, they could get Ohtani and get Judge back around the same time.

I like the return for the Angels because it involves an established big-leaguer in Torres, who can be an everyday middle-of-the-order bat, and Domínguez, who projects as a switch-hitting slugger with a ton of speed. I watched him in the Futures Game here in L.A. one year ago and he looked incredible. He has been hyped as a future star for a long time yet is still a teenager. If you are going to trade Shohei Ohtani, you have to get a guy like that — a No. 1 prospect who you believe can become a superstar, and Domínguez is that for me.

Ben Verlander is an MLB Analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the "Flippin' Bats" podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers organization. Follow him on Twitter @BenVerlander.

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