Mike Trout is having the best season in major league history, just one year after being on track for the best season in major league history prior to an injury. However, the Angels still kind of suck. Even before Shohei Ohtani’s injury, the Angels were only able to assemble a good enough cast around Mike Trout, the best player in baseball history, to attain a 37-32 record and 16.8% chance of making the second wild card.
The Angels should trade Mike Trout. He is under team control for two more seasons, at an astounding $34 million (with a lower cap hit). Their team has multiple huge holes to fill. Mike Trout can bring a big enough return to rebuild a team all on his own.
The Yankees should trade for Mike Trout. He’s the best player ever.
Obviously, any Mike Trout trade would require a huge return, including a large number of random throw-in players. Below, I’m going to propose three different trades. However, I’m not going to specify the specific throw-ins, because who cares? I’m not going to let my personal preference for Luis Medina over Albert Abreu get in the way of Mike Trout in pinstripes.
The Gleyber Package: Torres, Hicks, Frazier, Sheffield and throw-ins for Mike Trout
Gleyber Torres is a sensation. He’s having one of the best rookie seasons for a 21-year-old middle infielder ever, but still has room to improve on defense and his walk rate. Torres is looking a lot like Francisco Lindor right now, and it’s beautiful. He would be cheap and under Angels control for six years. They’ll want Torres.
Hicks goes back to the Angels mostly because the Yankees won’t need him anymore. However, he’s a cheap, controllable asset, and the Angels could flip him elsewhere. Frazier and Sheffield are the top Yankee prospects still in the minor leagues (with Frazier looking like a star). Plus, the throw-ins.
Would the Angels take it? I’m skeptical that many other teams will make a better offer. However, the Yankees might have to, which is why we’re going for the nuclear option with the second package.
The Judge Package: Judge and throw-ins for Mike Trout
Aaron Judge probably has the most trade value in baseball for a non-Trout player. Since the start of last season, Judge is second, behind Trout, in fWAR at 11.3. He’s under team control for six years and makes the minimum. He’s a megastar. The Angels and Yankees would essentially be changing the shapes of their win curves: the Yankees would gain 4-6 wins per season over the next two and a half years, while the Angels win in the long term.
I know, Judge is a steep price to pay for the Yankees, but come on! It’s Mike Trout. And fun fact: Judge is less than a year younger than Trout. I’m pretty sure that the Angels would take it, though they may want more of a quantity deal. So, let’s give them the quantity deal.
The Kitchen Sink Package: Andujar, Hicks, Frazier, Sheffield, Florial, Kahnle, McKinney, and throw-ins for Mike Trout
Here, the Yankees are rebuilding the Angels in one fell swoop. Andujar headlines the package and immediately becomes the second best position player on the team. Hicks and Frazier immediate slot into the Angels outfield, putting Kole Calhoun out to pasture. Kahnle becomes the Angels closer. McKinney is set free because we feel bad for him.
Brandon Drury is a fine replacement at third base for the Yankees. They improve hugely on the field for this season and could contend for the all-time wins record by only subtracting 3-5 WAR. Angels vs. Yankee games become class reunions.
Bottom Line: Cashman, Make the Call!
I know that I am writing fantasy, but hear me out for a second. On August 9th, 1988, the Edmonton Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings. Gretzky was coming off a Trout-like run of the breaking every single NHL scoring record of note. He was the best player in hockey, by a larger margin than Trout is the best player in the major leagues, and everyone knew it. He still got traded, frankly for a worse package than the Yankees could credibly offer for Mike Trout.
The Yankees are such a deep team that Brandon Drury and Clint Frazier are destroying Triple-A with no real prospect for a call-up. They’re so deep that they are leading the majors in run scoring despite huge down seasons from two of their three best hitters. Before this season, their farm system was labeled possibly the deepest in modern baseball history. They can trade for Mike Trout. The Angels are also one of the worst teams ever to feature the best player in baseball. Our dreams can come true. These trade proposals may suck, but there is a magical deal to be made.
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