Thanks to a long and lasting run of general incompetence, the Angels have resisted calls to trade star outfielder and future Hall of Famer Mike Trout. However, is the organization now at last open to such a thing?
A recent report from USA Today's Bob Nightengale suggests just that. Nightengale writes:
"The Los Angeles Angels, perhaps for the first time, are open to trading All-Star outfielder Mike Trout if he indicates to them that he wants out. Trout has exclusive no-trade rights and said recently that he wants to have a private conversation with the front office and ownership about their direction."
Trout is an Angels lifer, and on their watch he authored one of the great peaks in baseball history. With the Angels, Trout has won three American League MVP awards, finished second in the balloting on four other occasions, and amassed a WAR of 85.1 across parts of 13 big-league seasons with the Halos. The leading subplot of his career to date, however, is the Angels' inability to build a worthy roster around him.
This is most acutely reflected by the fact that the Angels haven't had a winning season since 2015, haven't made the postseason since 2014, and haven't won a playoff game since 2009. Compounding matters is that in more recent years, the Angels have continued to flop despite the historic and singular presence of two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani on the roster.
The Angels' praiseworthy efforts to gun for a playoff berth leading up to this year's trade deadline didn't go as hoped, and Ohtani is almost certainly bound for somewhere else via free agency this coming offseason. That plus the dicey proposition that Anthony Rendon will ever give them much and a thin crop of young talent may mean a pivot or even full rebuild is in the offing. If that comes to pass, then it's not hard to imagine that Trout, now 32 years of age, will decide it's time to move on.
While Trout is still a very good player and could help any team in baseball, he's probably not going to reach his highest heights again, at least on a sustained basis. As well, his very substantial injury and durability concerns aren't going away as he moves deeper into his thirties. There's also the fact that he's still owed almost $250 million on his current contract, which runs through the 2030 season. The Angels aren't going to get the haul they would've gotten for him just a few years ago. As well, they'll probably need to kick in cash to defray that huge remaining commitment.
That said, he remains valuable, and it's possible a move to a contender would thoroughly re-energize him. Given the history of Trout trade speculation it's probably best to assume nothing winds up happening, but it seems more possible than ever that his days in Anaheim could be numbered.