ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Hypothetical Shohei Ohtani trade to D-backs includes package involving Jordan Lawlar

Jul 20, 2023, 8:42 AM

Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani’s future is on the minds of many with the do-it-all player’s impeding free agency while on a team sputtering close to .500.

With the MLB trade deadline looming to begin August, it’s possible that Ohtani won’t be rocking a halo for very much longer.

But if not the Angels, then who?

Taking that question into account, ESPN had its MLB experts whip up hypothetical trade proposals for nine MLB teams that could potentially pull off a blockbuster trade for Ohtani.

MLB insider Jeff Passan then wrapped up the exercise with a rating of each deal.

The Arizona Diamondbacks not only made the cut behind their wealth of highly touted prospects, but they found themselves in the “now we’re talking” tier.

David Schoenfield’s proposed trade centers around top-five prospect Jordan Lawlar, outfielder Alek Thomas and pitchers Slade Cecconi and Yu-Min Lin.

The Diamondbacks are building something really nice here, so they’ll be reluctant to deal away future talent, but given Ohtani is favored to land with the Dodgers or Giants as a free agent, 2023 may actually be their best opportunity to win a division title over the next five years. … They have two premium prospects in Lawlar and outfielder Druw Jones … Thomas gives the Angels a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder who could be the next Kevin Kiermaier — great D, good enough at the plate. That’s a strong package right there, and we’ve included two solid pitching prospects as well.

While losing the top prospect in Arizona’s farm system might sting, especially if Ohtani is a second-half-of-the-season rental, Lawlar was much easier for Schoenfield to part with given the emergence of 2023 All-Star Geraldo Perdomo.

Perdomo is well on his way to a career year in 2023. The shortstop is averaging .278 with an OPS of .800 across 78 games played (290 plate appearances). He’s recorded 66 hits, 35 RBIs, 41 runs scored, a career-high 11 stolen bases and is pacing the team with 40 walks.

Lawlar, meanwhile, is still climbing the minor-league ladder since joining the organization as a 2021 first-round draft pick (sixth overall).

This season with the Double-A Amarillo Sod Poodles (69 games), Lawlar is averaging .348 with a .813 OPS. He’s registered 67 hits, 39 RBIs and 27 stolen bases in 316 plate appearances.

As for what Passan thinks of the trade package?

This is a strong offer — and I’m still inclined to say no. While Lawlar is a top-25 prospect, some scouts have doubts that he’s the sort of player around whom a deal of this magnitude could be built. Lin is a favorite, already up to Double-A having just turned 20 years old, but Thomas simply (doesn’t have a lot of MLB experience) and Cecconi is faltering in Triple-A. If you want to consider shortstops Blaze Alexander and Jansel Luis in the deal, I’d be a lot more willing to listen.

Unfortunately for the D-backs and the rest of the NL West, their hypothetical trade wasn’t quite the best offer, with the Dodgers making the “you had me at hello” tier with a proposal from Bradford Doolittle consisting of outfielder Josue De Paula, catcher Dalton Rushing and pitchers Nick Nastrini, Ryan Pepiot, Emmet Sheehan and Gavin Stone.

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