Let’s Trade Mike Trout
The offseason is always long and brutal for any baseball fan. The four months between Game Seven of the World Series and the start of Spring Training is one long baseball-less void that seemingly feels longer every year. Of course there are the occasional trade and free agent signings that help break up the tedium of the Winter, but they can be few and far between, especially this off-season.
This leaves fans with hypothetical conjectures in order to attain the baseball fix. Thinking, “What if this team made this trade?” can be a good talking point for fans to discuss when there is no actual baseball being played. That is why today we are going to have a little fun and trade the best player in the game, Mike Trout.
Trout has been far and away the best player in baseball since he became a regular in 2012. At just 25 years old, the back of his baseball card is already very impressive. Since his first full season, Trout has averaged 33 home runs, 34 doubles, and 116 runs per year, all while being elite on the bases and defensively. Trout’s all-around game has already established him as an all-time great.
Now, Mike Trout is a generational talent, and trading for him will not be easy. It is common practice for teams to look at deals from the past to start to get an idea of a player’s price tag. Unfortunately, it is not every day the best player in the sport is involved in a trade, but there are a couple trades from recent history that might be able to start to give us an idea what Trout could be worth.
In 2007, a mid-season trade sent then superstar first-baseman Mark Texieira and reliever Ron Mahay to the Braves in exchange for a five player package including the systems top two prospects Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Elvis Andrus, as well as three second tier prospects, Matt Harrison, Beau Jones, and Neftali Feliz. History of course shows the Rangers won this trade, as Harrison, Andus, and Feliz were all key pieces in the Rangers back to back World Series appearances. Despite this huge price, the Angels would likely look for even more for Trout, as Texieira, while a great player at the time, was not on the same level that fans associate Trout with now. This trade represents a good low bar for what would be needed to trade for Trout.
More recently, one of the top pitchers in baseball, Chris Sale, was sent to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for potential superstar Yoan Moncada, two top ten prospects in the system in Michael Kopech and Luis Alexander Basabe, and a top 30 system prospect in Victor Diaz. While this trade represents a large haul, it lacks the major league ready talent required for Trout, as Moncada has not proved he is ready to make the jump to the major leagues. This trade once again is below what would likely be needed for a team to steal away Trout.
Both of these trades at the time included a current or near-ready major league talent, and a large mix of A and B-level prospects. As these trades would not be enough for Trout, we can assume the Angels will be looking a mix of two major league ready players, at least three top prospects, and more. Not many teams have that kind of talent available to make a trade this large, but there are a few that may be able to put together a Trout-worthy package.
Now that we have a low-end ballpark for Trout’s price, let’s try to find the teams that would be able to get this deal done. Not any organization has the firepower to deal for a player of Trout’s caliber, for the sake of this exercise, we are going to be looking at trades four teams would be able to conceivably put together to acquire the best player on the planet.
1. The Los Angeles Dodgers send LHP Julio Urias, RHP Jose De Leon, OF Joc Pederson, and Minor League 2B Willie Calhoun to The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for OF Mike Trout
Arguably the trade with the most upside going back to the Angels, the Dodgers are sending two potential frontline starters that already have major league experience along with Joc Pederson, who is already a cheap everyday player with a world of upside. Willie Calhoun is a solid second base prospect that would also help replenish the Angels farm system. Fans get the treat of watching Trout and Puig in the same outfield.
2. The New York Yankees send OF Aaron Judge, RHP Luis Severino, minor league SS Jorge Mateo, minor league OF Clint Frazier and minor league OF Blake Rutherford to The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for OF Mike Trout
The most position-player heavy package in this scenario, the Yankees send a package of players with big time upside in the form of Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, Blake Rutherford and Luis Severino. With the addition of Jorge Mateo in the deal, the Angels win young talent with serious upside, and also get a revamped farm to help rebuild. The Yankees of course, once again, acquire the best player in baseball.
3. The Atlanta Braves send SS Dansby Swanson, OF Ender Inciarte, RHP Matt Wisler, minor league RHP Mike Soroka, Minor League LHP Kolby Allard, and minor league RHP Touiki Toussaint to The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for OF Mike Trout
The Braves might have been a stretch for this theoretical deal, as their system does not have as many big time prospects compared to the Dodgers and Yankees. Where the Atlanta system excels is in their system depth, especially in starting pitching. In this deal, the Braves would send both their starting shortstop in Swanson and starting centerfielder in Inciarte, as well as dip into their major league rotation depth by sending Wisler. On top of that, they send over three potential frontline pitching prospects in the trio of Allard, Soroka, and Toussaint.
4. The Colorado Rockies send SS Trevor Story, RHP Jon Grey, OF David Dhal, RHP Jeff Hoffman, and minor league RHP Ryan Castellani to The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for OF Mike Trout
Perhaps the most exciting trade of the four, the Rockies would send some serious offensive firepower to the angels in the form of Dhal and Story, and the Angels also get their system’s pitching depth replenished with the trio of Jon Grey, Jeff Hoffman, and mid-level prospect Ryan Castellani. The Rockies fans get to watch Mike Trout play four years in the extremely hitter’s friendly Coors Field. Everybody wins.
There are the four trades that appear to have enough value going to the Angels in exchange for Mike Trout’s services. Odds are, the Angels will never consider this option, but it is fun to think about, isn't it?