Ah yes, it’s the time of the year where fans of every baseball team that is struggling suggest a massive, historic impactful trade to make their team better. Hell, they do it all the time on MLB: The Show and they do it without trading their top prospects! Naturally, it can be done in the real world too!
An example of the above, the Philadelphia Phillies trading for (already) all-time great Shohei Ohtani.
It’s great talk for blogs, social media, and sports radio but come on, do you actually think that could happen?
No? Yeah, me either.
But according to highly respected baseball scribe Buster Olney, the Phillies ARE one of the teams that are linked to the California Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and their prized possession. Granted, Olney’s report is still rumor and innuendo however it’s worth noting when it comes from a well-respected baseball journalist.
So, let’s have some fun, shall we? Let’s dive into the idea of the Phillies trading for the greatest two-way player since George Herman “Babe” Ruth.
Of course the Phillies COULD trade for Shohei Ohtani. Any team could do it, but at what cost?
The 28-year-old phenom is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2023 season and is already expected to receive a massive haul in free agency. Trading for Ohtani would require a team that is just on the cusp of winning it all and they believe a starting pitcher/designated hitter will put them over the edge. Said team also has to be willing to heavily mortgage the future for right now without the guarantee that Ohtani re-signs in free agency.
Is that the Phillies?
Maybe, maybe not.
Based off of last year and how the 2023 season has progressed, the Phils are likely an Ohtani away from making another run to the World Series. They have a hole in the lineup that Ohtani’s bat would fix and a hole in the rotation that Ohtani’s arm would solve. He would make any team he joins better but he really does fit what the Phillies need.
Now, here’s the fun one: are the Phillies ready to mortgage the future especially if they can’t re-sign Ohtani?
Yes, John Middleton and Dave Dombrowski have said repeatedly that the Phillies will do whatever it takes to win. Potentially setting the franchise back a decade is not likely high on the list.
This is a tough one. The Ruben Amaro, Jr. in me says “just do it”, however the potential for another 10-years of really, really, really bad baseball has me thinking shaking my head no.
Trading for Ohtani makes no sense unless the Phillies have a strong belief they can re-sign him or negotiate an extension at the time of the trade. Otherwise, it’s a move that will gut the farm system with little to no return. And yes, I understand that Ohtani is a proven commodity NOW but so were Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay and their additions didn’t end with another parade down Broad St.
There’s no historical basis for what a Shohei Ohtani trade to anyone would look like.
Baseball experts have compared him –fairly accurately– to Babe Ruth but the Babe was famously traded for cash from Boston to the Yankees. Another historical comparison is to Hall of Famer Martin Dihigo but his greatness only shined in the Negro Leagues and international baseball. Dihigo played nine seasons and was never traded. Another comparable player is Kansas City Monarchs star Bullet Rogan. Like Dihigo, Rogan played 12-seasons in the Negro Leagues –all with the Monarchs– and was never traded.
(Authors Note: I highly suggest you take a dive down the rabbit hole of the Negro Leagues. The level of baseball and the absolutely bonkers stats are incredible. It’s about time these players are getting their “just due” as some of the greatest of all-time.)
So, on that note, after running multiple simulations on the interwebs, here’s what a Shohei Ohtani trade to the Phillies might look like.
SP/DH Shohei Ohtani
The consensus among baseball insiders is a trade for Ohtani will take at least three top prospects with one or two ready to make the leap to the Big Leagues. Also included in the trade would have to be a current MLB player that can fill the gap immediately in the Angels lineup.
So, in other words, a shit ton!
Personally, any combination of the above is way too much. But what say’s you?! Comment below or drop a comment on our Facebook feed and have some fun with this one!