Pros and cons for D-backs getting into Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes

Jul 24, 2023, 7:40 PM

Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani smiles as he stands in the dugout prior to a baseball game agains...

Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani smiles as he stands in the dugout prior to a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates Saturday, July 22, 2023, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The Arizona Diamondbacks inquired about Los Angeles Angels superstar starting pitcher and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reported Monday.

Morosi mentioned that both the D-backs and the Baltimore Orioles did their due diligence about the Angels’ star and as teams with an influx of young talent.

Ohtani is the best player potentially available at an MLB trade deadline in league history. The problem for clubs hoping to trade a gaudy amount of farm capital for Ohtani is he hits free agency after the season’s end. He could demand the biggest contract in MLB history due to his two-way ability.

He is slashing .285/.398/.674 with 36 home runs (MLB leader) and 77 RBIs, paired with a 3.71 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 148 strikeouts in 111.2 innings pitched this year on the mound. He is currently -1000 to win AL MVP, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Before fans around the Valley get excited that the best player in the MLB, Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro said Arizona will not trade for the two-way player.

“I have shot it down before and I will shoot it down again. The Diamondbacks are not trading for Shohei Ohtani,” Gambadoro said. “What I am hearing is that they would be surprised if (owner) Arte Moreno trades him.”

In the spirit of trade rumor season, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Arizona were to execute a hefty trade for Ohtani:

Pros of Ohtani-Diamondbacks trade

It is plain and simple that Ohtani is one of the best players to ever play on a baseball field. His addition to the Diamondbacks would not only give them three No. 1-caliber starting pitchers but also inject another MVP candidate in the lineup next to Corbin Carroll.

Additionally, the D-backs have been linked with targeting starting pitching and a power bat as the Aug. 1 deadline looms. Ohtani would kill two birds with one stone and potentially give the D-backs an edge over the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in the division.

Arizona had the No. 3 ranked farm system entering the 2023 preseason, according to MLB Pipeline. Despite this list including Carroll, Drey Jameson and Ryne Nelson who are all no longer prospects, the team has a plentiful amount of young talent.

Outside of the Orioles, there may not be a better team than Arizona to trade for a rental player with a high-quality package built of mostly prospects. This would give the D-backs a chance at briefly landing one of the best players without paying the full price.

Depending on who the Angels would ask for, the D-backs do have many highly-ranked prospects that all play similar positions such as outfield and middle infield. In the outfield the organization has Carroll, Alek Thomas, Jake McCarthy, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Kyle Lewis, Pavin Smith, Dominic Fletcher, Dominic Canzone, Kristian Robinson and Jorge Barrosa all on the 40-man roster with Druw Jones (No. 2) and A.J. Vukovich (No. 11) as top prospects.

At shortstop the team has No. 1 prospect Jordan Lawlar, MLB starter Geraldo Perdomo, and No. 8 prospect Blaze Alexander.


For starters, there is far from a guarantee the Angels move on from their superstar when they’re in a playoff race. They were four games back of a wild card spot as of Monday.

That, paired with Ohtani being unlike any player in MLB history and the number of teams that would be interested makes it hard to envision what the trade package looks like.

The 2021 deadline involved the trade of an ace and top-of-the-order bat.

The Washington Nationals dealt Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Los Angeles Dodgers for catcher Keibert Ruiz (No. 41 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline), right-hander Josiah Gray (No. 42), right-hander Gerardo Carrillo (Dodgers’ No. 17 prospect) and outfielder Donovan Casey.

That’s still not a perfect comparison, as Ohtani gives a team both with one roster spot with the power to potentially hit 60 homers this year.

The bidding war would be extreme and cost the Diamondbacks depth and firepower to build around Carroll and Co. beyond this season.

If the Ohtani package mirrors the Nationals-Dodgers deal at all, would the D-backs be willing to part with two of their top three prospects at least, additional farm talent and possibly MLB players for less than three months guaranteed of Ohtani?

D-backs GM Mike Hazen has said he wants to be aggressive but not reckless, and the organization would have to determine which bucket an Ohtani deal falls into.

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