Package One - No Money
Angels Receive: UTIL Tommy Edman, C Jimmy Crooks II, OF Travis Honeyman
Cardinals Receive: OF Mike Trout, RHP Griffin Canning
It's difficult to perfectly replicate the Stanton deal. Notably, the Cardinals came close to acquiring Stanton, demonstrating that they have been willing to take on massive contracts in the past. The Cardinals have a fairly strong farm system that should absolutely interest the Angels, whose farm ranks among baseball's worst. What the Cardinals lack is a true comparison for Starlin Castro. Edman is much younger with more defensive upside. Castro was more expensive as well and was closer to free agency than any other young player in the Cardinals' system such as Thomas Saggese or César Prieto. Thus, the Angels would likely be forced to include another piece.
Enter Griffin Canning, a young starter with dwindling control. So far in Anaheim, the results have been disappointing. He's been a below-average starter since debuting in 2019 and missed all of the 2022 season with an injury. Canning will reach free agency after the 2026 season, meaning he currently has three years of control. Perhaps a change of scenery could benefit the young hurler, who once ranked among MLB's best prospects. Canning slotted in at 63rd on MLB Pipeline's 2019 top 100 list. Notably, that was just two spots below Nolan Gorman.
This would be a chance for the Cardinals to get creative to fix their pitching crisis. Canning may not immediately fit into their rotation, but he would be an interesting depth addition with the potential for mid-rotation production in the future.
The Angels should be interested in a deal like this. Moving on from Trout will be painful, and it may be painful enough that the Angels don't do so at all. But getting out from under Trout's massive contract will free up significant payroll space. This return may seem minimal, but it's likely the only way to avoid taking on significant money.