Could the Los Angeles Angels actually be thinking about trading Mike Trout this winter?
If they were, there are several people around the baseball world who think that if they do, the New York Yankees are the team most primed to make an offer for the former MVP and New Jersey native whose become one of the faces of Major League Baseball over the last five seasons.
Most would figure that the Angels would want to build around Trout, as he’s only 25 years old and a franchise cornerstone-type player; plus, they gave him a six-year, $144 million extension that runs through the 2020 season, so you would figure that the Angels would never even think of dealing Trout.
But over the last couple of seasons, the Angels have not been a good baseball team and while his contract is considered a very reasonable one, the Angels are wasting his prime seasons with bad baseball and essentially, the whispers haves started on the Angels dealing Trout.
Last year, Trout publicly addressed the trade rumors and said he wasn’t looking to be moved and up until recent time, no movement has been talked about in regards to Trout; that is until now.
Several reports have started to circulate stating that the Yankees could be considering a run at Trout and making a potential blockbuster move for him this winter, citing their recent roster shakeup over the last year as the reason why they could make a move for him.
“You don’t accumulate all those prospects with the intent of keeping them all,” the scout told me. “They have value and it makes complete sense to spin off four of five of them for Trout … It’s very much a Yankees kind of move and makes too much sense for them.”
If any team has the ability to make the deal for Trout, it’s certainly the Yankees, especially since the Angels GM is Billy Eppler, who was the former Yankees assistant GM under Brian Cashman, so what better trade partner to have than your former boss?
As far as lining up prospects go, the Yankees have them; lots of them. Clint Frazier, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Jorge Mateo, Justus Sheffield, James Kaprielian. So if the Yankees wanted to unload some of the farm system they just spent the last year building up in order to make a deal for Trout, they have the necessary players needed to make that deal.
Salary wise; not even an issue. The Yankees have plenty of money. And for Mike Trout, they would expand and create payroll to get Trout on the payroll. Even if the Yankees are trying to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold, they’d rip through that in a second if it meant getting Trout and competing for a championship for the next 10 years. Hal Steinbrenner values money, but he values winning even more. He is a Steinbrenner after all, and winning means more money to the Yankees and into his pockets, especially if the World Series is being played in the Bronx come late October.
But on the flip side, would the Angels actually consider this deal? Does Eppler really want to be the GM known for being the guy who traded Trout away?
The Angels are already having a rough time as it is over the last two seasons; trading Trout away would almost guarantee that they’d not only be competing for the basement of the American League West, but would be playing in front of an empty stadium for the next couple of years. And Arte Moreno certainly doesn’t want to have that on his hands.
And on the other side for the Yankees, getting Trout not only means you have to unload the farm system, but you also probably have to pay Trout a lot of money ($400 million, perhaps) in his next deal. That kind of trade could also potentially prevent the Yankees from trying to lure Bryce Harper and Manny Machado when they are both free agents after the 2018 season; Harper has been linked to the Yankees for the last two off-seasons now, as he grew up a life-long Yankees fan and many think Harper is destined to be playing in the Bronx and playing for the team he grew up idolizing.
10 years ago, maybe this deal gets done and Trout is the center fielder of the Yankees for the next 15 years. But this is the 2016 Yankees and they are doing things a little differently in the Bronx. So don’t expect to see Trout playing center field at Yankee Stadium anytime soon unless he’s in a visiting Angels uniform.
But then again, this is the Yankees we are talking about, so you really never know. Maybe their roster purge was a greater plan to get Trout all along? Only time will tell.