The Talk of Troy

MLB Mondays: will Mike Trout actually be traded?

The three-time MVP’s days with the Angels may be numbered.

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ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Los Angeles Angels’ upcoming offseason may be the most important in franchise history. With the impending free agency of two-way player Shohei Ohtani, the Angels’ future hangs in the balance.

If Ohtani does indeed leave the Angels in free agency, then outfielder Mike Trout’s tenure with the team may come to an end. Rumors surrounding the Angels trading Trout have been swirling after Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Angels may be open to trading Trout if he wants to leave.

During the offseason, Trout will have a conversation with the Angels front office on what their vision is for the future. The Angels would love to keep their franchise player in Anaheim, but their future currently looks bleak. They could’ve brightened their future by trading Ohtani, but they didn’t, and going all in at the deadline backfired on them — the Angels are currently 68-82 with only 12 games left on the year.

If the Angels want to salvage anything for their future, then trading Trout would be the smart decision. The Angels have the third-worst farm system in baseball according to MLB Pipeline, so swapping Trout for a few prospects would be huge for the Angels.

Anyone who knows Angels owner Arte Moreno, however, knows that trading Trout would not happen under his watch. Moreno has never thrown in the towel as the owner of the Angels, so trading Trout seems unlikely.

In any trade that involves Trout, the Angels would have to eat a majority of his salary in order to gain prospects. This is a similar strategy that the Mets used at the deadline by trading away starting pitchers Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander for two top-100 prospects.

This would be smart on many levels especially if the Angels want to go into a full rebuild. This would all depend on Ohtani’s decision this offseason. If Ohtani does sign with another team, there would be no reason to keep Trout.

Of course, any trade involving Trout is ultimately up to him due to his contract’s full no-trade clause. He’s played in Anaheim his whole life and has settled down there with his family. He’s comfortable living in Orange County, but if he wants to ever play in the playoffs again, he needs to leave the Angels.

Trout’s trade value is the lowest it’s ever been, however, as he hasn’t played over 130 games since his MVP season in 2019. This season, Trout is hitting .263/.367/.490 with a .858 OPS, all career lows. However, this is Mike Trout, and those numbers are still great and would provide an impact on any lineup he may join.

That being said, here are a few teams that should be in on Trout if he does want to leave Anaheim:

New York Yankees

Of course, you’d expect the Yankees to be in on any big player on the market, especially someone like Trout. He would help New York’s outfield and take pressure off of Aaron Judge in the middle of the lineup.

The Yankees may hesitate on this deal, however, as it may be reminiscent of Giancarlo Stanton’s with Trout’s injury issues as of late. Trout fractured his hamate bone swinging on July 3, and has only played in one game since.

The Angels should look to acquire prospects in infielder Oswald Peraza and pitcher Drew Thorpe as they would both help rebuild the Angels’ depleted farm system.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants were looking to sign a star player last offseason, chasing Judge and shortstop Carlos Correa, but they could get their man in Trout. Their lineup lacks a true star, but is very well balanced.

Adding Trout in the outfield would fit perfectly, as they don’t have a true center fielder. They have the prospect capital to pull it off, too — look for shortstop Marco Luciano and outfielder Wade Meckler (who is originally from Anaheim) as potential candidates to be moved.

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies should be the favorites to land Trout due to his history of rooting for Philly sports teams and proximity to his home state of New Jersey. He would help their defense even more by forcing Kyle Schwarber out of the outfield and into being a full-time designated hitter.

Would it be awkward for the Angels to ask for outfielder Brandon Marsh back in a trade package? It may be, but he could potentially be on the move back to Anaheim, along with pitcher Mick Abel.