Dodgers Team News

Dodgers Offseason: What Might a Trade for Shohei Ohtani Look Like?

The Dodgers head into the offseason with quite a few questions looming about their 2023 roster. Trea Turner, Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Anderson, and Andrew Heaney (among others) are heading into free agency, and the team has decisions to make on whether to bring back Justin Turner (who has a $16 million team option) and Cody Bellinger (a non-tender candidate heading into his final year of salary arbitration).

Among those names mentioned are three starting pitchers and the guy who got the most playing time at designated hitter for the Dodgers in 2022. Hmmmm, I wonder if there might be a way to fill a starting pitcher hole and a DH hole with just one roster spot.

As luck would have it, just across town — and I mean way across town, the kind of “across town” you have to drive through eight other cites and switch counties to get to — there’s a starting pitcher/DH who has recently shown a wee bit of dissatisfaction with his current situation.

Angels P/DH Shohei Ohtani returned home to Japan this week and, in his first interview, was critical of Anaheim’s season (while diplomatically not naming the team specifically):

“I have to say that August and September in particular felt longer to me than last year,” Ohtani said, speaking in Japanese. “We were not able to play as many good games as we would like — including 14 consecutive losses. So I have a rather negative impression of this season.”

Going into his last season before free agency, it seems that Ohtani might welcome a trade to a team that is more likely to play more “good games,” possibly even into October.

So what might a trade between the Angels and Dodgers look like?

It wouldn’t be cheap for the Dodgers, that’s for sure. Ohtani will be making $30 million in 2023, and while normally a team whose owner is trying to sell might be looking to shed that salary, Shohei is Anaheim’s top marketing tool as a team. In 2022, they did three different Ohtani bobblehead giveaways, plus an Ohtani tote bag, an Ohtani snow globe, an Ohtani t-shirt, and an Ohtani baseball cap. So the Angels won’t be as desperate to shed the $30 million so some losing teams might be.

The one thing that might make Ohtani more affordable is that it’s just one year left before free agency, and the Angels by this point have to know they’re likely to lose him for nothing a year from now. listed Ohtani’s median trade value at $52 million — which means they’re estimating him to be worth roughly $82 million in 2023, $52 million more than his salary.

BaseballTradeValues can’t tell you everything, though. According to that site, Will Smith’s median trade value is $55 million, estimating him to be worth $86.2 million over the rest of his time with Los Angeles while being paid $31.2 million. So by that estimate, a straight-up Smith-for-Ohtani trade makes sense! No, the Angels would not do that trade.

The Angels would almost certainly want a pitcher back in the trade, so let’s start with top pitching prospect Bobby Miller. Then you also have to replace Ohtani’s bat; Anaheim has shown interest in the past in prospect Andy Pages, and he’s only gotten better since then. And then, to sweeten the deal, let’s throw in another top pitching prospect, Ryan Pepiot.

In this trade scenario, the Dodgers are giving up their top two pitching prospects and their fourth-best hitting prospect, numbers 2, 4, and 6 overall in their system. The median trade value on those three guys adds up to $68.1 million, about $16 million more than Ohtani.

It’s an overpay on the Dodgers’ side, but is it enough of an overpay for the Angels to bite? The Dodgers might need to throw in another lesser prospect or two so the Angels can sell the trade to their fan base as quality and quantity. Jorbit Vivas and Michael Grove are both on L.A.’s 40-man roster without a clear role going forward, so including them could kill two birds with one stone.

That brings our final proposal to a five-for-one trade with the Angels receiving $74.2 million in trade value and the Dodgers receiving $52 million. I don’t know if that would get it done, but it seems like it might work.

What do you think? What would you give up for the Dodgers to get Ohtani?

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.


  1. Bellinger, Gallo, J Turner, C. Taylor, Hanser Alberto, Kimbell, Dave Roberts, Kevin Pillar, Austin Barnes, and a couple of draft picks.

    1. If you’re serious (I hope not), teams do not trade top-notch players for draft picks, players you no longer have the rights too, and a manager. Also you can’t trade draft picks.

  2. I poke around here a bit, and elsewhere, but while I have opinions, I’m emphatically no expert. But I think it has less than zero chance of happening, at least before a sale of the Angeles. Afterwards it might move up to zero. A smart businessperson will not trade Ohtani to the cross town rivals, even if they’re not really crosstown rivals. Be great for the Dodgers if they did, just as it would be great for me if someone handed me a winning lottery ticket, but I don’t see either one happening.

    1. The nationals were in a similar situation. Franchise up for sale, buyers all wanted Soto signed to an extension. So the sellers wanted it as well couldn’t get it done and went the trade route. There was a little more control time for the Padres. If you can’t sign him you have eliminated all the positives.

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