It’s been all the hub bub this past week. Keith Law of ESPN released his rankings of MLB’s farm systems and not only did he say that the Anaheim (I know what they are called) Angels were the worst farm system in 2016, but the worst he had ever seen in his eight years of ranking farm systems.
Wow. That’s rough, especially in an era of teams like the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals rising to prominence via their Minor League stashes.
Of course almost immediately the internet and bloggers went bananas with the options that he Angels have for the future and the most glaring option may be just the most ridiculous:
Trade Mike Trout?!
The immediate reaction would be that it is insane.
As early as the beginning of this offseason, an author at Halo’s Heaven thought otherwise and that now is in fact the time to trade Mike Trout.
The author proposed two targets back in November, one being the Colorado Rockies Nolan Arenado and the other being the Baltimore Orioles Manny Machado. Now while both of those names are young and perennial All Stars, they are both also attached to farm systems that address some of the Angels needs, primarily pitching.
Should the Angels look to deal Trout for Machado, you can bet that Hunter Harvey or Dylan Bundy — if not both — would be included in the deal. Should they look to Arenado, there are names like outfielder David Dahl and pitchers Jon Gray and Jeff Hoffman that would have to be added into the deal.
So, dealing Trout could indeed pay huge dividends, bringing in a superstar as well as the future for the Angels franchise. You make it a deal with the Dodgers and get Kershaw, Corey Seager, Julio Urias and Grant Holmes (to which the Dodgers would laugh) then you are getting tantelizing.
Not now, not next year, not ever do the Angels think about trading Mike Trout.
There is absolutely nothing out there that is worth it for the Angels to make a move and sell of the greatest player of his generation. Trout will be 25-years old by the end of this season. Trading away Trout to improve the Angels’ future doesn’t make sense because Trout IS the Angels future.
When trading away an elder statesmen, the goal is to get pieces back that you intend to build your team around that you envision for the future. Take the New York Mets for example. The traded away R.A. Dickey for Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud. They traded away a 37-year old — who grant it was the reigning N.L. Cy Young winner — for what they envisioned as their future battery. Once they had that battery in place, the other pieces could fall into place.
The Mets also had the honor of already having a sick farm system. They weren’t merely getting two pieces to BEGIN their farm system depth, they were getting pieces to compliment names like Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz just to name a few.
In the Angels case, whomever they would get in return for Trout — let’s say it’s two future aces in Harvey and Bundy from the Orioles — it would merely be a start for their turnaround. They would still need strong drafts and they would still need way more pieces. Two Top 100 prospects would turn the Angels system from the 30th ranked farm club to the 29th.
The other problem with trading a 24-year old Trout is that we are talking about prospects. The mere definition of the word prospect is the reason the Angels stay clear of a trade. A prospect is someone who is likely to succeed. There are no guarantees.
Mike Trout IS a superstar. I’ve seen arguments that Mike Trout is already a Hall of Famer, and you know what, they aren’t that crazy. The only thing Mike Trout is likely to become at this point is one of the single greatest players to play the game.
If Trout were 29-years old, I would say to the Angels to start wheeling and dealing, but here is a guy who’s numbers are absolutely insane AND HE HASN’T EVEN HIT HIS PRIME YET. The only deal that would make sense right now is to trade Trout to the Cubs for Kris Bryant and their ENTIRE top five farm system.
Other than that, the Angels would never get the return they need to be significant. Just ask the Marlins. Burke Badenhop, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Mike Rabelo, Frankie De La Cruz and Dallas Trahern are paying huge dividends to their future, aren’t they?
Don’t know who they are? Those are the guys they got for Miguel Cabrera, whom the Marlins traded at the age of — you guessed it — 24. Cabrera went from one of the great young players in the game to one of the greatest hitters OF ALL TIME, winning consecutive MVP Awards, a Triple Crown, four of the last five batting titles and turned the Tigers into a team that won their division four straight seasons.
The Marlins? They traded the best two in that haul and got even less in return. Miller netted them Dustin Richardson and Maybin got them Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb. There’s no saying that the Angels wouldn’t do the same, especially after sending Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis to the Braves for a shortstop.
Its simply too risky to trade away the game’s best player. Of course there are no guarantees that Trout stays the course and continues to play like he does. But it is highly more likely that Trout continues his success and becomes a Mickey Mantle-esque superstar, than it is Machado becomes the next Brooks Robinson or Bundy or Harvey become the next Jim Palmer. Because that’s what we are talking about here. We are talking about a franchise’s best player of all time and Hall of Famers.
It would be complete lunacy for the Angels to trade Trout.