Welcome, everyone, to a bizarre point in spacetime where Shohei Ohtani trade speculation is at once possibly pointless and increasingly unavoidable.

Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported on July 6 that the Los Angeles Angels "seem to be leaving open the slight possibility" of trading the two-way superstar before Major League Baseball's Aug. 1 deadline. And on Thursday, ESPN's Buster Olney made waves by highlighting the New York Yankees as a possible destination:

Of course, Heyman had another report on July 9 that cast more doubt on Angels owner Arte Moreno's willingness to move Ohtani. That tracks with what he told Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated in March: "We will not trade Ohtani while we are contending for a playoff spot."

But while the Angels are still technically in contention, the end of their first half was marred by a serious injury to three-time MVP Mike Trout and a 1-9 skid that dropped their record to 45-46. As of now, FanGraphs gives them a 10.9 percent chance of making the playoffs.

So, let's ponder Ohtani's value and what he might fetch from potential suitors.


Ohtani Shouldn't Come Cheap

The obvious downside of trading for Ohtani is that he's an impending free agent, and thus only guaranteed to stick on a new team for the final two months of the season. He's also earning $30 million, which isn't cheap.

There has, however, never been a rental quite like this one.

The last three seasons have seen Ohtani, 29, rise above the Babe Ruth comparisons and achieve a singular brand of superstardom. And his peak is happening right now. He's allowing the lowest batting average of any starter and he's up to 32 home runs on offense, thus threatening the American League record 62 that Aaron Judge hit last year.

If the Angels do choose to make Ohtani available, they'd be within their rights to name their price and not back down even one iota. A fair deal? Nah. It would be malpractice if Moreno and general manager Perry Minasian accepted anything less than an overpay. The more controllable young players they can get in return, the better.

With help from Baseball Trade Values' trade simulator, we've dreamed up five trades that would fit the bill. But first, some acknowledgments to other teams who could get involved.

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