San Diego Padres: Discussing a hypothetical trade for Shohei Ohtani

New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels
New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The MLB trade deadline is fast approaching, and teams must decide whether they’re a contender or pretender for the remainder of the 2023 season. One of the top candidates to be dealt is Shohei Ohtani, and has listed the San Diego Padres among the suitors for his services.

The 2023 Padres have underachieved all season, but they find themselves not that far out of the postseason chase. The biggest disappointment has been the heart of the Friars batting order. Collectively, they have failed to produce at the plate with runners in scoring position.

It leaves Padres president of baseball operations, A.J. Preller, in a difficult situation. How long can he wait before making a trade proposal for Ohtani? Time is running out as the deadline date is August 1.

Will acquiring Shohei Ohtani improve the postseason chances for the San Diego Padres?

Sure, the Friar Faithful's initial reaction is to go for a World Series title regardless of the cost. In their mind, acquiring Ohtani will increase the Padres' chances of securing a Wild Card berth. And once you get an invite to the party, anything can happen during October baseball. But, at the same time, the Friars need to be realistic with their current position in the standings.

Preller must ask himself if trading for Ohtani improves the roster enough to qualify for the postseason. If the answer is the Padres road to the playoffs will be bumpy with no guarantee of reaching the postseason, then there is no need to overpay for a two-month rental. The Friars might be better suited to pursue Ohtani as a free agent in the offseason.

What could the cost be for the San Diego Padres to acquire Shohei Ohtani?

The concern in any potential Ohtani trade is the package heading up I-5 North to the Angels. The Padres will be trading away some of the organization’s top prospects SS Jackson Merrill (Padres #1 prospect), RHP Dylan Lesko (Padres #3 prospect), RHP Adam Lazur (Padres #6 prospect), PHP Alek Jacob (Padres #26 prospect) and LHP Ryan Weathers in the hypothetical deal. It is a steep price to pay for baseball’s crown jewel. But the Angels are desperate to inject quality young talent into their sagging franchise.

Remember, the Juan Soto trade depleted the Friars minor league system of MLB-ready talent. The one sticking point could be including Lesko in the deal. Blake Snell is eligible for free agency after this season. It is hard to imagine the Friars moving a top pitching prospect who could compete for a starting rotation spot in a season or two.

Could Juan Soto be sent packing again?

Before making a deal of this nature, the Padres will need to consider trading Soto in a corresponding move. Potential suitors will pay top price to acquire an elite player, who will be under team control for the next year-and-a-half before he is eligible for free agency. The Padres could recoup the prospect losses from last summer’s Soto trade and the package being sent to the Angels.

When it comes to moving Ohtani, the Angels will reportedly wait until the final hours of the trade deadline before making a decision. However, Preller will not sit idly, as he will be active in the marketplace. And he may not afraid to pull the trigger and rent Ohtani if the move guarantees the Padres consecutive postseason berths.