St. Louis Cardinals Rumors: Insiders Speculate Mike Trout Trade
By Josh Jacobs
The Angels best move may be to deal Mike Trout
Again, Mike Trout will not be dealt before the trade deadline and likely won’t be dealt before the 2023 season either. But as Shohei Ohtani’s free agency approaches in 2023 and the team still cannot make the playoffs, the club will seriously need to consider jumpstarting a rebuild or retool with a trade of Trout.
Even if the Angels resign Ohtani, the club’s farm system ranks 28th in baseball according to Fangraphs, and they will not be able to field a consistent contender until they can have enough young talent to offset the large contracts handed out to a few members of the team. Their payroll ranks 8th in baseball already, so more splashy moves won’t do much to improve the roster. Resigning Ohtani alone will likely boost their payroll $30-$40 million a year due to his low salary hit at the moment.
If the Angels anticipate losing Ohtani, they likely will be incentivized to cash in on their asset at the 2023 trade deadline, and that will inevitably raise questions about Trout’s future with the club. It may be crazy to consider a Trout trade at this moment, but if Ohtani is dealt, the club will be left with an aging, expensive roster, and very little farm talent, much like the Washington Nationals.
This is where the Trout trade comes in to play. Dealing both Ohtani and Trout would bring back a boatload of prospects, allowing the Angels to begin their much needed rebuild. As the club begins to develop a strong pipeline and field a major league club with controllable talent, then they can go out and acquire big names via free agency or trade to jump back into contention. But as currently constructed, it is hard to imagine a scenario where Trout is a part of a winning Angels club.
Trading Trout to St. Louis likely nets the Angels a package that includes a centerpiece of Nolan Gorman, Dylan Carlson, or Maysn Winn, if not two of the mentioned names, and some other prospects in the system that can build some much needed depth into their farm system. Again, the Angels do not want to trade Trout, but if you dig yourself as deep of a hole as they have, it becomes clear that they will need to eventually.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees would be strong competitors in any Trout trade, but its easy to see why the Angels would want to send Trout to St. Louis. Giving Trout to your cross town rivals is a non-starter, and the Yankees would probably be avoided if possible as well.
For St. Louis, they’d acquire one of the game’s all time greats on a long term deal, with no worry of an extension in the near future. With revenue expected to jump again here soon and the price of contracts rising every year (see Juan Soto’s asking price for example), Trout’s contract may even be a bit of a bargain.