The Angels are past the point of no return
For the last decade, the Angels have been the poster child for disappointment around Major League baseball. Despite having one of the greatest talents in MLB history in Mike Trout, an ownership group willing to hand out any contract, and in recent seasons, two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, the club has not made the playoffs since 2014.
It only gets worse from here. Shohei Ohtani is a free agent after the 2023 season and seems likely to leave the club. The Angels farm system is the 30th ranked in all of baseball according to MLB.com. The club has very little young talent on the major league roster and is being held down by an albatross contract in Anthony Rendon. The future is bleak.
The Washington Nationals are a great parallel for this club. The Nationals won the World Series in 2019 and have since fallen off a cliff. The lack of a strong farm system, impending ownership change, and non-competitive club force their front office to trade away a generational superstar, who was just 23 years old, in Soto to jump start their rebuild. Although you never want to lose superstar talent, the Nationals had to in order to build again.
Even if the Angels trade Ohtani for a large package, holding onto Trout makes little sense for the club. The Angels will require a multi-year rebuild, and their centerfielder is already 31 years old. Trout wants to compete for World Series at this point, and the Angels are not even close to being a team who could even make the playoffs.
Due to Trout’s age, contract, and injury situation though, his trade value may look more like that of a Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt than the haul that a player like Soto commanded.