The Big Question: Should the Dodgers take on Anthony Rendon’s in a Shohei Ohtani trade?

Will the key to securing Ohtani be a $152 million dollar sized bit?

I know we’re all thinking about it. We’ve been thinking about it since at least last offseason, if not long before that. Shohei Ohtani, the Angels’ phenom pitcher/DH, remains the most prized possession in all of baseball heading into the 2023 season. Every team in the MLB will be more than willing to offer up the biggest haul in baseball history for the chance to secure not just half a season of Ohtani, but the exclusive ability to negotiate an extension. The Angels are starved for talent practically all across the board and with the LA Dodgers’ depth of talent you can bet the Angels will leverage ask for the world and then some.

What Is The Shohei Cost In A Trade?

The first question to be asked is; how much will the Dodgers be willing to overpay in order to avoid a free agency frenzy next offseason? Last year’s biggest trade target, then Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, went to Padres for a massive seven-player haul featuring a mix of top prospects alongside Major League talent. It is well within the realms of reasonability to think the Angels will ask for the Soto package as a simple starting point and build from there. The problem with comparing the Soto haul to Ohtani negotiations lies in the fact Ohtani performs on both sides of the diamond to an MVP degree. The Dodgers will rely heavily on creativity in order to float a package that passes the sniff test for the Angels.

Will this be a prospect-heavy package featuring enough talent to hold over the Angels until the youth blossom? Or will be a “compete now” haul that can vault the Angels into playoffs within a year’s time? Or will it be something a little more? Perhaps the onus on the Dodgers won’t only be to provide an excellent prospect but to remove burdens from the Angels roster.

A Trade-Off To Keep More Prospects

I’m sure Dodgers fandom still remembers the Anthony Rendon free agency and his subsequent snubbing of Los Angeles. Funnily enough, it appears as if the Rendon contract will find its way back to LA. The Dodgers might have dodged a bullet a couple of years ago, but if they want Ohtani there’s a good chance that the Angels will make Rendon’s contract a big part of the deal. Given Arte Moreno’s attempt to sell the Angels back in the offseason, only to get cold feet, you can’t help but have a future sale on the mind. With a future sale comes a roster with as little baggage as possible, and there is no baggage bigger than a consistently injured 33+-year-old making $38 million for each of the next four years.

The Angels Have Options

With that being said the Angels can go one of two ways. Either they, and bear with me here, retain Ohtani on a massive deal likely in the half-a-billion dollar range, or they go the opposite route and field the cheapest roster possible. Any future owner will gladly shoulder the Trout contract, but having Rendon along for another four years certainly sours the pot a fair amount. Now I’m not saying the Angels forcing Rendon’s contract onto the Ohtani deal is the smartest route given it will weaken the prospect haul quite a bit, but it is certainly something in line with Arte Moreno’s unpredictability.


All in all the Dodgers have the best shot in the Majors to secure Ohtani come All-Star break, they’ll just need to be willing to eat a Rendon-sized bullet. Given the Dodgers’ proclivity towards taking on albatross contracts in order to obtain talent, it is well within reason to assume the Angels will attempt to shed as much dead weight as they can with an Ohtani trade. Come All-Star break you can bet the Dodgers will be willing to assume the Angels’ burdens in exchange for one of the greatest talents ever to grace the diamond.

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