Skip to content
Fivecardguys.com is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Shohei to Vladdy

Why I traded my Shohei Ohtani rookie autograph for a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. rookie card (2022)

Check out our Daily Auctions page to see some of the best sports card auctions ending daily! And listen to our podcast Cards To The Moon!

A post I don’t make often here on fivecardguys.com is outline some of the actual cards we buy, sell, or trade.

But I’ll be making more of them as we make more transactions just to walk anyone interested through our thought process. Sometimes they end up making us a great return…and others not so much. It’s still informative for us to highlight our wins and losses (luckily we still have a winning percentage!) and try to figure out our next move.

Before I go on with why I ended up trading away my Shohei Ohtani Topps Chrome Rookie Autograph Card (BGS 9.5/10) that I bought for $550 last March, this is just a quick plug for our Cards To The Moon podcast where we talk weekly (every Tuesday) about all things sports cards.

So as I mentioned, I bought the Ohtani Topps Chrome rookie for $550 (batting stance) who was coming off an injury shortened, pandemic year in 2020 finishing the season with a dismal .190 batting average in just 44 games played. Plus he only pitched 1.2 innings that 2020 season.

But remember, this is only two years removed from his AL Rookie of the Year season where he batted .285 with 22 home runs, 10 steals all in just 367 plate appearances.

So he has the potential to be a bonafide all-star only if he can remain healthy for a full season. After the 2020 season, his card value dropped as expected to the point where I felt a Topps Chrome rookie autograph base card graded a BGS 9.5/10 for $550 (where it did more than double that after his rookie season) was a steal…or at the very least, a risk worth taking in hopes of a bounce back 2021.

The rest is history with Ohtani winning the AL MVP after 2021 putting a historic season together with both his impressive batting and pitching stats. Of course, some luck is involved to have such a season, but I like to invest in players with a track record of having put together a solid season before, who can easily do it again after healing from an injury.

By the time the start of the 2022 season rolled around, my $550 card was selling for about $3,000 at the time (eBay comps).

Now in this 2022 season, the question is can Ohtani do it again? It’s a possibility. But for his prices to make another spike up would mean he would have to stay healthy again another full year plus improve upon his numbers from last season. That’s a tall order.

So I wanted to capture some of the profit and trade up for a bigger card that I still thought was undervalued.

At a local card show this past winter before the start of the 2022 season, the Ohtani card was what most dealers wanted not surprisingly. I eventually found a dealer looking to sell his Vladimir Guerrero 1st Bowman Chrome rookie autograph base card for about $3,000.

After some back and forth, he wanted the Ohtani plus $300 in cash, which I agreed to. Why?

First, as I mentioned before, this Ohtani card was at peak value at the time and I wanted to capture that profit. The Vladdy card was also a 1st Bowman Chrome autograph card – arguably the most coveted rookie card brand for baseball card collectors (more so than the Topps Chrome, which the Ohtani card happened to be).

And lastly, the grade on my Ohtani card was a “min gem” meaning the subgrades were all 9.5 except for one. Whereas the Guerrero card was a “true gem” meaning the subgrades were all 9.5. For some collectors, that distinction matters.

Oh there is one more thing. I’m a Jays fan so there’s a hometown bias. And I think he can hit 50 home runs this year.

With Vladdy already leading the league with five home runs after two weeks of MLB play, it looks like I might have made a good trade.

Let me know what you guys think! Would you have made the same deal or would you just have held on to the Ohtani?


Here are some Vladimir Guerrero 1st Bowman Chrome rookie autograph cards currently listed on eBay:


Here are some Shohei Ohtani Topps Chrome rookie autograph cards currently listed on eBay:


Listen to our podcast Cards To The Moon with new episodes every Tuesday. You can hear it here at fivecardguys.com/podcast (and follow us on Instagram!)

Leave a Reply