The Los Angeles Angels are still looking to give Mike Trout his first playoff win and might need to part ways if that does not happen in 2019.
The Los Angeles Angels have something that every team in the MLB wants: the best player in baseball, in this case, Mike Trout. Not only do the Angels have Trout but Trout is homegrown and has the potential to be an Angel for life.
However, many MLB teams have what the Angels want: a win in the postseason. The Los Angeles Angels have made the postseason just once with Trout, 2014, and were swept in the ALDS by the Kansas City Royals.
The last time the Angels won a playoff game was in the 2009 ALCS against the New York Yankees, a series the Angels lost 4-2.
Since 2012, which was Trout’s official rookie year, 23 of the 30 MLB teams have won at least one game in the MLB playoffs. The seven that haven’t? The Angels, Mariners, White Sox, Padres, Marlins, Phillies and Pirates.
At some point, Mike Trout is going to get fed up with not winning, especially because there is not much of a foundation in Los Angeles.
The Angels have been signing one-year deals almost exclusively and Justin Upton and Albert Pujols are only going to get older. The two young southpaws, Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney, have not pitched to ace potential.
The only real bargaining chip is Shohei Ohtani, who is not going to pitch again until 2020 and who knows if he regains form. There are some good prospects in the organization but the farm system is not great and the front office hasn’t been able to produce results to this point.
Trout has every reason to walk away from the Angels after the 2020 season when his contract expires. Any team is going to offer him what will likely be the largest contract in sports history and he can go to plenty of other places to be on a contending team.
That is why the Los Angeles Angels should trade Mike Trout next offseason if the team does not make the postseason.
Not making the postseason in 2019 might be the final straw for Trout. While there is a shot they could contend in 2020, if they fail in 2019, those chances are slim. With that in mind, the Angels best move is to indeed part ways.
The trade return for a year of Trout would be insane, even though it is just a year. The Angels would get at least two prospects in the organization’s top five and deserve three in the top 100.
Angel fans would petition for more but you have to realize that a year of Trout is not going to get a team to completely sell the farm. However, for a contending team, it would be worth three elite prospects, assuming they have at least one more.
Teams like the San Diego Padres or Chicago White Sox could afford that, although they likely would not be in the market for Trout. The Los Angeles Dodgers are a contending team that has the money to pay Trout and the prospects to give.
A team that knows that they have a shot of extending Trout is going to be willing to five more in a trade as well, making contending teams like the Dodgers a better partner for the Angels.
Either way, the team would get much more value for an entire year of Trout rather than just half a season. If the trade partner views Trout as just a rental than you can cut the trade value in half, even though its Mike Trout.
I understand the fans’ perspective of wanting to hold onto Trout and give the team a chance to contend in 2020, it is hard to part ways with elite talent.
However, another failed season in 2019 isn’t going to magically make 2020 different. It will finally be time for the Angels to stop tip-toeing the middle line and commit to a rebuild.