Fact Check: Can Angels trade Shohei Ohtani for draft picks? Alex Rodriguez’s dubious claim, examined


In 2016, when Alex Rodriguez retired from the MLB, current Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani was tearing it up in Japan. Although the then-22 year old was relatively unknown in North America, he had just posted an ERA of 1.86 in 21 starts for the Nippon Ham Fighters, gaining the NPB’s pitcher of the year award.

Seven years later, Shohei Ohtani is being called the best player in MLB history. The first player ever to hit 100 or more RBIs while striking out at least 100 batters, Ohtani is the current MLB leader in triples, home runs, walks, and slugging percentage.

“Shohei Ohtani has homered in three straight at-bats!” – MLB

Despite his dominance since joining the MLB in 2018, things between him and the Angels could not be more complicated. Long unable to reach a long-term deal, the 29-year old is expected to gain offers of up to $500 million when he declares free agency at the end of the year.

While the Los Angeles Angels have been pressured to trade Ohtani, the team has indicated that it has no intent of letting the star go. Proponents of a trade argue that doing so would allow the team to retain value from a star who will be departing anyway.

On a recent appearance on the “Brett and Boone Podcast”, former New York Yankees icon Alex Rodriguez appeared to be in favor of a trade. However, the three-time MVP repeated a debunked claim that demonstrates a lack of understanding of how trades work.

According to A-Rod, the Angels should deal Shohei Ohtani for a slew of draft picks before the August 1 trade deadline. The 48-year old made the following claim:

“I think here’s the thought that I would think about, if I was the Angels, I would want to get a bunch of draft picks. I’d want to load up my farm system.”

Unfortunately for Rodriguez, this is not how trades work. After sports personality Colin Cowherd made a similar claim recently, many were clear to point out that draft picks cannot be traded as per MLB rules until one year after their draft, pre-selections cannot be traded either, much unlike other pro leagues in North America.

Shohei Ohtani is too valuable to trade

With a record of 54-50, the Angels find themselves six games out of the top spot in their division, currently occupied by the Texas Rangers. With GM Perry Minasian making some big plays by acquiring players like Mike Moustakas and Lucas Giolito, it’s clear that Shohei Ohtani will be an Angel, at least until October.

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