Yankees Mock Trade: Landing superstar dual threat Shohei Ohtani

shohei ohtani, yankees, angels

The New York Yankees are in the middle of pursuing high-profile free agent Aaron Judge on a contract extension, but building a super team is never out of the question.

General manager Brian Cashman and owner Hal Steinbrenner have made crazy moves in the past, trading for big-name players to help bolster the squad. Their most recent mega-trade was centered around Giancarlo Stanton, so who’s to say their next big splash can’t be Shohei Ohtani from the Los Angeles Angels?

Angels general manager Perry Minasian suggested that the team won’t be moving Ohtani this off-season, but we heard a similar statement from the Washington Nationals regarding Juan Soto. Obviously, Soto ended up being traded to the San Diego Padres, so Ohtani could experience that same reality.

“Because he’s obviously such a good player, we’re not moving him. Ohtani is not getting moved,” Minasian said at the general manager meetings in Las Vegas, according to the LA Times. “He’ll be here to start the season. I know there’s been rumors and all types of things, but he will be part of the club. We love the player and I think the goal is for him to be here for a long time.”

Nonetheless, if the Yankees wanted to acquire Ohtani before he hits free agency in 2024, it will cost them a significant package of prospects.

Per The Atheltic, here’s a mock trade that would send Shohei Ohtani to the Yankees:

Yankees Receive:

Shohei Ohtani:

The 28-year-old pitcher/slugger hit .273 this past season with a 35.6% on-base rate, 34 homers, and 95 RBIs. He recorded a 142 wRC+ with a 24.2% strikeout rate and a 10.8% walk rate. There’s an argument to make that he’s the most valuable player in baseball over Judge, but the two were measured around their offensive production this past season, whereas Ohtani made a significant impact as a starting pitcher as well.

Over 166 innings, Ohtani earned a 2.33 ERA, 2.65 xFIP, and 11.87 strikeouts per nine with an 83.1% left-on-base rate. Aside from being one of the best lefty hitters in baseball, he was also one of the best starting pitchers in the game, fighting his way into the Cy Young conversation.

With that type of value, the Yankees will have to give up a significant amount of capital, even though he’s coming up on a monster contract extension that could end up beating Judge’s numbers. Defensively, he’s capable of playing in the outfield but obviously spends more time as the designated hitter. He only played 8.1 innings of outfield in 2021, so Los Angeles clearly does their best to keep him rested as a primary pitcher.

Having a player like Ohtani that can fill a top-end rotation spot, potentially even competing with Gerrit Cole for the ‘Ace’ role, and solving a major void in the batting order makes him an extremely attractive option. The question is, how many prospects would the Yankees be willing to send on their way in exchange for one year of Ohtani before he hits free agency? They would have to extend him immediately upon arrival.

Angle Receive:

Gleyber Torres:

The Yankees and Seattle Mariners have been discussing a possible Gleyber Torres swap, but in this scenario, he is sent to the Angels in a big package for Ohtani.

This past season, Torres hit .257 with a 31% on-base rate, 24 homers, and 76 RBIs. Torres has developed into a solid offensive piece with above-average defense, posting a .985 fielding percentage with seven errors over 1082.2 innings this past season. Filling an infield spot with Gleyber is not a bad move, and he still has two years left of control before he hits free agency. Gleyber may not be the most valuable piece on the Yankees roster, but he certainly delivers production.

Oswald Peraza:

In addition to Torres, the Yankees send star prospect Oswald Peraza to Los Angeles in the process. Peraza only has 18 games of MLB experience, which he accrued at the end of the 2022 season.

Over 57 at-bats, he hit .306 with a 40.4% on-base rate, one homer, and two RBIs. The most attractive aspect of Peraza is his elite defensive qualities and offensive upside. The Angels will be getting an instant starter at shortstop for the long term, but the Yankees would open up a hole in the infield, in which Anthony Volpe would hopefully fill. Already ridding themselves of two starting infielders, they will need to go out and find a cheaper replacement or retain Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa as starters in 2023.

Jasson Dominguez:

One of the Yankees’ most promising young prospects is Jasson Dominguez, who was elevated this past season from Low-A Tampa to High-A Hudson Valley and then Double-A Somerset. Across all three teams, he hit .273 with a 37.6% on-base rate, 16 homers, and 59 RBIs with 37 stolen bases.

Dominguez struggled to transition to Somerset, only playing in five games, too small of a sample size to make any legitimate assessments. However, he dominated in single-A, and with his 5-tool repertoire of skills, he will undoubtedly be an attractive piece for other teams. Reports indicated the Marlins wanted him and Gleyber in exchange for starting pitcher, Pablo Lopez. Cashman turned it down without hesitating.

Containing elite power as a switch-hitter and great athleticism in the outfield, Dominguez projects as a top-end MLB player down the line, but he still needs another two years before being elevated. However, at 19 years old, that would make him a prime 21 to make the transition, so the Angels wouldn’t have to wait too long to find themselves a potentially elite outfielder.

Overall, this package seems a bit light, given Ohtani‘s quality, so I would anticipate a few more players being tossed into the deal to get it done. At the end of the day, Ohtani might go down as one of the best players in the history of the game, and he will demand that type of respect in a prospective trade.

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