Whenever the Power Ball lottery gets astronomically high, sometimes I like to imagine what I’d do with all that money after I win it. You know, like, “I’d buy that car” or, “I’d travel to this place.” Purely hypothetical stuff, of course, but nevertheless, it’s fun to dream.
Speaking of which, how about these Mike Trout trade talks?
Recently, rumors have run aplenty about how the Angels could put perhaps the best player in the game on the trading block. With a bad start to this season, and one of the worst farm systems in the game, the Angels appear to be a team on the decline, and could be facing the reality of a tough rebuilding process. They could definitely use a strong core of young talent, and this is the argument some are using as to why trading Trout is even a discussion. Right now though, it’s completely speculative, and nothing more than media talk. But to be fair, that’s how any legitimate rumor usually starts.
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So, let’s play along. Assuming there’s a possibility that Mike Trout could be available in the next year or so, what kind of package would it take to make him a Dodger? And is that something the front office thinks would be in the best interest of the team?
There’s really no need to go into too much detail about the player Trout is. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re somewhat of a baseball fan. And if you’re a baseball fan, you know that Mike Trout is pretty much the face of not only his team, but of all Major League Baseball, with maybe only Bryce Harper being in the same conversation. In his first four full MLB seasons, Trout has placed in the top two in MVP voting every year (winning it in 2014) as well as led the A.L in WAR for each of those four years. He’s a rare 5-tool player, and he’s only 24 years old.
Yeah, he’s good.
So, the question is, in order to acquire someone like that, what would it take? Well, the short answer is simple: An awful lot.
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The haul of players and/or prospects that the Angels could demand in return for Trout is limitless. But the Dodgers do have what many consider to be one of the top farm systems in baseball. If any team could put together a package enticing enough for the Angels to part with Trout, it could certainly be the Dodgers.
The package would almost certainly start with at least two or three of the Dodgers top prospects (Corey Seager, Julio Urias & Jose DeLeon) and probably a MLB ready player or two (Kiké Hernandez or Trayce Thompson.) But that wouldn’t be enough. It would also likely include another top prospect (Alex Verdugo or Cody Bellinger) and perhaps a younger, highly rated one (Yadier Alvarez or Yusniel Diaz.) Maybe throw in an additional mid-tier prospect or two as well (Austin Barnes, Jharel Cotton, Micah Johnson, or Chris Anderson.)
So, a hypothetical package could look something like this:
SS Corey Seager, LHP Julio Urias, RHP Jose DeLeon, 1B Cody Bellinger, RHP Yadier Alvarez, OF Trayce Thompson, and C Austin Barnes
That’s a heavy haul. And it still might not be enough. The demand for Trout could be that high. The above package is just an example, and it could be mixed and matched with different prospects and players, but any way you slice it, the price would be steep.
Would I do the trade mentioned above? Absolutely not. But that’s not saying I wouldn’t pull the trigger on any possible deal to get Trout. Personally, I’d be more likely to consider something like the following:
OF Joc Pederson, RHP Ross Stripling, INF/OF Kiké Hernandez, RHP Pedro Baez, RHP Jose DeLeon, RHP Grant Holmes, OF Alex Verdugo, C Austin Barnes, and 2B Micah Johnson, as well as picking up the contract of Albert Pujols.
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Again, that’s a huge return of prospects, as well as some current MLB talent in Pederson, Hernandez, and Baez. But although it’s a plethora of good young talent, it doesn’t include Corey Seager or Julio Urias, who would almost certainly be asked for in any trade including Trout. I’m just trying to formulate any possible scenario where the Dodgers might be able to keep them, but it’s probably unlikely.
Of course, there’s other aspects to a trade other than swapping players. Money can also go a long way, and the Dodgers certainly have that. The Angels have some big salaries that they’d love to get rid of, and perhaps a scenario where the Dodgers take on some of those contracts, could make it happen. Similar to the trade with the Red Sox that brought the Dodgers Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. In that trade, the Dodgers really only wanted Gonzalez, but in order to acquire him, they had to take the contracts of Crawford and Josh Beckett as well. In order to get Trout, maybe the Angels insist that the Dodgers also take the remaining contract of Albert Pujols, which I included in the above package.
Regardless of what the details of the trade would be, the question should be asked – would it be worth it?
It would undoubtedly be a tough question for the front office. Over the last few years, the Dodgers have built one of the best farm systems in baseball, and a trade for Trout could single-handedly take the club from a top farm system to an average one.
Plus, we’ve seen hesitation before from Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi when it comes to giving up the Dodgers future core of prospects. They didn’t pull the trigger at the trading deadline last year on any big names like Cole Hamels or David Price, as the asking price was just too high. Instead, they went with Alex Wood and Matt Latos.
This off-season, rumors that Jose Fernandez was possibly on the market got people talking. But again, the reported asking price for him was supposedly outrageous enough to laugh at. And if the price for Fernandez is that high, you could only imagine what it would be for Trout.
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A premier player like Trout would be a welcomed addition, for sure. But at what cost? This isn’t the NBA. No one player can single-handedly carry a MLB team, regardless of how good they may be. Just look how the Angels have fared with Trout the last few years. Remember when Matt Kemp was the best player in the NL (and should have got the MVP) back in 2011? Well, the Dodgers finished 3rd in the NL West, and 11.5 games back that season.
The magnitude of a trade for Trout would be so big, and involve so much, it just seems unlikely. If you’re the Angels, do you really want to be the team that traded away the best player in the game? And if you’re the team trading for him, do you want to be remembered as the club who mortgaged their future for one star player? Oh, and this is all assuming that Trout would be willing to waive his no-trade clause as well.
It’s just seems like a far-fetched idea at this point. But much like my lottery fantasies, it’s still fun to think about, even though it may never happen.