Rumors that the Los Angeles Angels might end up trading star player Shohei Ohtani have been swirling since before the All-Star break, with the bidding reportedly heating up as the Aug. 1 MLB trade deadline approaches. But landing a player like Ohtani, who’s the current favorite to win the AL MVP () while also being in the running for the AL Cy Young Award (), would be a seismic move with the potential to drastically change the postseason outlook for almost any MLB team.
We’ll look at how an Ohtani trade could change World Series futures odds for current MLB contenders, with analysis from top sportsbook oddsmakers. First, we’ll take a look at the odds for top favorites to win the 2023 World Series. Odds are from Caesars Sportsbook and are subject to change.
|To win the 2023 World Series
|Tampa Bay Rays
|Los Angeles Dodgers
|New York Yankees
|Toronto Blue Jays
How Shohei Ohtani trade could shift MLB team odds
The two-way star Ohtani is currently under a one-year, $30 million contract with the Angels that ends after this season. With reports suggesting that his next deal could fetch upward of $600 million in free agency, the Angels are reportedly considering potential trades as the Aug. 1 deadline approaches.
But for MLB teams in the playoff hunt, picking up Ohtani would be unlike adding any other player. He went into the All-Star break with 32 home runs, putting him on pace to crack 60 by the end of the regular season. But he’s also an excellent addition to any pitching rotation, with a 3.50 ERA and 139 strikeouts through 105 innings pitched. Adding Ohtani to a roster is really like adding two players, both of whom are stars. This could instantly change the postseason MLB odds for almost any team, according to oddsmakers.
“With the exception of (the Atlanta Braves), acquiring Ohtani would cut every team’s current odds at least in half,” said Chris Bennett, director of Circa Sports.
For some teams, the swing in odds would be greater than others. According to Bennett, a team like the New York Yankees could go from +3000 to win the World Series to +1000 at Circa Sports, solely by acquiring Ohtani early in the second half of the season. The Baltimore Orioles could go from +1400 to +600, Bennett said, while the Los Angeles Dodgers could see World Series futures odds go from +700 to +350.
What would an Ohtani trade look like?
According to Johnny Avello, director of race and sportsbook operations at DraftKings, one consideration in calculating a team’s odds after adding Ohtani would be what that team might have to give up to get him. Some reports have suggested that the Angels are looking primarily for top future prospects in exchange for Ohtani, but teams might have to add current players to sweeten the offer, which could hurt their chances in some ways while helping them in others.
“If I were looking at trading him to the Yankees, for instance, I’d want Aaron Judge and a starting pitcher,” Avello said. “I saw some of the trades that teams are proposing, and it’s probably not enough. I think when it’s all said and done, the Angels are going to keep him. He’s great for marketing, great for attendance.
“There’s just so many things he brings you. He wants to be on a winner, and the Angels aren’t there and haven’t been there, though of course the season’s not over. I just don’t know if there’s enough out there that you could trade to make it worth giving him up.”
Avello estimated the odds boosts to most teams as being more conservative. If the Dodgers were to add Ohtani, he said, their World Series odds might improve from +550 to +400. The Houston Astros, he said, might go from +800 to +600. That’s assuming that none of those teams would have to cut into their current rosters too severely to make the trade.
Still, the Angels could be thinking more about the future than just the current season. With injuries to other star players like Mike Trout, and a record that’s currently just barely above .500, Los Angeles might be ready to concede that a playoff run is unlikely even with Ohtani. And rather than lose him to free agency, this could be a way to gain several top-100 prospects by cashing in on another team’s desire to add a true game-changer to the roster.
“There’s very few Babe Ruths out there, and that’s the way he plays the game,” Avello said. “He’s an excellent pitcher and a very good hitter. You get him, you pick up a (starting pitcher) and you pick up a great hitter, so it’s almost like you’re picking up two players.”
What would an Ohtani trade do to Angels odds?
One thing oddsmakers seem to agree on is that the Angels are already a longshot in the MLB postseason, and those odds would only get worse without Ohtani. While Ohtani doesn’t guarantee wins, losing him would mean giving up a player whose WAR (wins above replacement, meaning the number of wins he’s likely to bring to a team compared to a replacement at the same position) has been consistently among the highest in Major League Baseball.
The Angels are currently a massive underdog to win this year’s World Series and are to even make the playoffs. Losing one of the team’s best pitchers, as well as the team leader in hits, home runs, and RBIs, would only make the outlook worse.