Ohtani did something that has never been done before: have a dominant season as a hitter and as a pitcher, all in the same year and with considerable sample sizes.
At the plate, he slashed .257/.372/.592 with 46 home runs, 26 stolen bases, and 5.1 Wins Above Replacement, or WAR.
On the mound, he was equally effective: he was 9-2 in 23 starts and 130.1 innings.
A 3.18 ERA with a 3.52 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) and 3.0 WAR as a pitcher rounded out his resume.
He was, with some difference, the Angels’ best and most reliable pitcher in 2021, as well as their best hitter.
Shohei Ohtani's 2021 Stats:
Hitting: .257 BA, 46 HR, 100 RBI, .965 OPS, 26 SB
Pitching: 9-2, 3.18 ERA, 156 K, 1.09 WHIP
"Everybody knew what they were seeing. Everyone knew it was special. It was a rare moment in baseball."
— Flippin' Bats Podcast (@FlippinBatsPod) November 26, 2021
An Authentic Bargain
Before the 2021 campaign, he signed a two-year, $8.5 million deal that paid him $3 million last year, and will earn him $5.5 million in 2022.
At that price, he is an authentic bargain, and he still has a season of salary arbitration after 2022 before hitting free agency.
Long story short, he still has two years of team control at an affordable rate, pending any potential changes to this structure with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
So, what’s his trade value?
In a phrase: sky-high.
Ohtani is young, at 27.
He is also affordable (at least right now, before he signs what could be a mammoth, record-setting free agent contract or extension) and he has two seasons of team control.
The problem in this case, to establish his value, it’s that he’s great.
More than that, he is historically great.
What can the Angels possibly ask for in return for the best two-way player in the history of the game, a player who can be a difference-making pitcher and hitter at the same time, at the cost of just one roster spot?
Under the explained scenario, it wouldn’t be unreasonable they demand an established offensive star with three or more years of team control, a young ace or future pitching stud, and a top prospect.
Potential Trade Ideas
These are just guesses: I don’t happen to know Ohtani’s exact trade value.
But I do know, however, that a trade is highly unlikely to happen, at least not in 2022.
First, the Red Sox, Blue Jays, or Dodgers likely wouldn’t pull the trigger on those hypothetical deals.
Second, the Angels wouldn’t, either.
Not seeing a trade for Ohtani. Hard pass
— Alex Arellano (@Alex172005_) September 22, 2021
Ohtani’s trade value is hard to gauge, yes, but the Angels aren’t trading him when they have spent all winter trying to upgrade the organizational pitching around him.
They have two years to convince Ohtani that Noah Syndergaard, Michael Lorenzen, Aaron Loup, and any other pitchers they bring in are enough to make the team really competitive and capable of making the playoffs.
Having said that, it’s always fun to come up with potential trade packages for the most exciting player in the world.