Despite the fact that they’re currently hovering around .500, it’s no secret that the Angels aren’t a good baseball team. What’s worse is that awful trades and terrible contracts have just about guaranteed that they won’t be good for a while. That is, unless they do something unthinkable — like trade the best player in baseball, Mike Trout. With the consensus worst farm system in the league, a terrible rotation, and only one serviceable starter (Andrelton Simmons) locked up beyond this year, trading Trout is not only LA’s best option, it’s their only option.
NEW YORK YANKEES
Angels get Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres, Justus Sheffield, Chance Adams, and cash
Yankees get Mike Trout and Yunel Escobar
This one is a no-brainer. With one of the best farm systems in baseball, cash to spare, and the allure of baseball’s most storied franchise, the Yankees are the team best suited to acquire Mr. Trout. In this package, the Angels could essentially replenish the upper levels of their farm system with high-upside bats and arms, while getting a player in Hicks who is already succeeding at the Major League level in center field. They could also ask the Yanks to toss them some cash to help offset Albert Pujols’ death sentence contract. For the Yanks, the appeal is obvious — pair Trout and Judge to form the scariest outfield combo in baseball and shore up your depth with Escobar at third. With Trout in the fold, New York gets back to winning the World Series as early as this year.
Angels get Cody Bellinger, Julio Urias, Joc Pederson, Willie Calhoun, and Walker Buehler
Dodgers get Mike Trout
How bout a lil’ freeway swap? The price here may be too steep for the Dodgers, who’d have to give up multiple semi-proven Major League talents for Trout, but if number 27 gets them past the NLCS, I don’t think fans would care. Just imagine the best position player in baseball and the best pitcher in baseball on the same team. Tough to pass on that. For LAA a trade like this could actually accelerate their window to compete. Like Hicks, Pederson gives you a major league-ready center field replacement with a ton of upside, while Bellinger could slot into the middle of the lineup immediately. Meanwhile, Urias provides a potential ace, while Calhoun and Buehler could both blossom into serviceable pieces in the near future. Again, for a trade of Trout even to be considered, the Angels would need to know they’d be filling multiple holes throughout their organization. One or two impact prospects won’t get the job done; it will take at least four or five top-of-the-line guys.
Angels get Javier Baez, Ian Happ, Albert Almora, Eloy Jimenez, and Dylan Cease
Cubs get Mike Trout
So about that dynasty…the Cubs have looked like a shell of last year’s team up to this point, and lackluster offense is a major reason why. Chicago doesn’t necessarily need Trout as much as they need guys like Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo to start hitting, but adding the best player in the universe certainly couldn’t hurt. Again, just imagine Bryant and Trout hitting back-to-back. Hard not get a little woody at the thought of that wood together. The Angels would make out pretty well here with Baez, Happ, and Almora all being upgrades over their current options at second, center (without Trout), and left/right. They’d also get Jimenez, one of baseball’s top outfield prospects (already in AAA), and Cease, the type of electric, projectable arm that the Angels’ system has none of. Come on, Cubbies, it took you 108 years to win a World Series, treat yo’self to Mike Trout!
BOSTON RED SOX
Angels get Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, Sam Travis, Brian Johnson, and Jake Cosart
Red Sox get Mike Trout and Yunel Escobar
If you’re sensing a trend here with big market teams, that’s because Trout is owed $34 million per season through 2020, meaning the team acquiring him would have to have mucho dinero. Much like the Yankees with Judge, the idea of Trout pairing with Mookie Betts in the outfield is petrifying for opposing teams. And the inclusion of Escobar plugs their glaring hole at third as well. For win-now teams, tearing apart the farm is the only chance to acquire a player like Trout, and Boston would be doing just that in this scenario. Benintendi already looks like a star at the top level, while Devers, Travis, and Johnson are all ready to make an impact as well. Toss in a high-upside arm like Cosart and the Angels would have to consider it.
Angels get Byron Buxton, Nick Gordon, Jose Berrios, Fernando Romero, and Felix Jorge
Twins get Mike Trout and cash
Probably our most far-fetched proposal here, but imagine this: July rolls around and the Twins are still miraculously in first place in the AL Central. Why not go for broke? Trout immediately takes the Twins from fluke contender to legitimate threat, and with a little help from the Angels, Minnesota could conceivably afford him for the next three years. In Byron Buxton, the Angels would be getting a guy who is widely considered the top prospect in baseball the past three years but hasn’t quite put it together in the bigs, and a talent in Gordon who could pair with Simmons to make a dirty middle infield duo. After that, they get something that they probably need more than anything — arms, and lots of ’em. Berrios would be LA’s ace as of today, and Romero and Jorge could slot behind him as early as next year. Of all the highly unlikely deals considered here, this one is by far the least likely, but we wanted to give our peeps in Minneapolis something to dream about.