Crafting a Cardinals trade for Mike Trout

The Angels recently stated they would trade Mike Trout if he requested a trade. Would it be wise for the Cardinals to trade for Mike Trout, and if so, what would it take to get him?
Los Angeles Angels v St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Angels v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages
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The Los Angeles Angels recently stated that they would trade their All-Star centerfielder, Mike Trout. Trout is a generational talent, and he will go down in baseball history as one of, if not the best players of all time. His power, speed, defense, and contact have been tops in the league for a decade. Simply put, Mike Trout is a transcendant player who changes the look of a team immediately.

While the St. Louis Cardinals have some options for center field already, including the ascendant Tommy Edman, getting Mike Trout would be a massive boost to an already stacked lineup. Trout would fit in the middle of the lineup with boppers such as Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Lars Nootbaar, Willson Contreras, and Nolan Gorman. Defensively, he would slot in at center field, providing greater defensive depth and flexibility.

In his Hall-of-Fame career, Trout has a slash line of .301/.412/.582 for an OPS+ of 173. 2023 has been a bit of a down year for him, but he is still playing at a great level, posting an OPS+ of 130. While injuries have been the story of his career these last few years, Trout is still a top-5 player in the league. He is in the top 100 players in the league for fWAR this year. Defensively, Trout has played well in center. Since 2016, Trout has only logged three negative outs above average values, in 2016, 2017, and 2019. In 2023, he has a +4 OAA value. He is ranked in the 86th percentile in range and the 75th percentile in arm strength.

Trout's contract muddles things slightly. Whoever gets Trout for 2024 and beyond would have him for his age-32 through age-39 seasons. He has 7 years and $245 million left on his contract. Additionally, Trout has a full no-trade clause, thus complicating the deal even more. The Cardinals could take on all of that money, but that would hamper them financially for a few years. His contract would also push them further into the luxury tax threshold, a place the DeWitt family would not like to be.

In order to save money, the Cardinals would have to send some high-end prospects to the Angels to sweeten the deal. Let's look at three scenarios for the Cardinals to land Mike Trout.