Now finishing out his 13th season in Major League Baseball, 11-time All-Star Mike Trout has won the MVP award the same number of times he has taken the field for a playoff game with the Angels: three.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why, in terms of true title contention, it’s never worked out for the Angels since Trout’s arrival in Los Angeles. It is even more difficult to determine why it hasn’t clicked since two-way star Shohei Ohtani came to the club six seasons ago, but it may not matter anymore as the latter superstar will hit free agency this winter. The injury that ended Ohtani’s season complicates matters and what he might command on the open market, but it’s no lock he’ll stick around L.A.
Trout is under contract with the Angels through 2030 and his full no-trade clause means he’ll stay in L.A. until the end of the decade if he chooses to do so. But the 32-year-old sounds like all of the losing is grating on him and the idea of leaving the only MLB team he has ever played for has at least crossed his mind.
Asked in different ways three separate times about his future plans by reporters, Trout “declined to say outright that he would not be requesting a trade,” per The Athletic. However, he did at least indicate he plans to be with the Angels. “I go through this every year. These are private conversations I have with [Angels owner] Arte [Moreno] and [team president] John [Carpino],” Trout said. “I’m doing the same thing I’ve done the last 13 years. Going into the offseason, clearing my mind, and going into spring wearing an Angels uniform.”
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If Trout’s plans change and he does end up asking out, the Angels will probably get pennies on the dollar for him and will have no one to blame but themselves. Alex Rodriguez, who has partnered with OraPharma on a national awareness campaign about the prevalence and impact of gum disease, took some flack for advocating for the Angels to trade both star players at the All-Star Game, but now it appears he may have been on the right track.
“I would’ve traded both of them at the same time,” Rodriguez told InsideHook in an interview for another, upcoming piece. “I thought having both of those guys healthy at their peak, then why not do a Herschel Walker trade and see if you can bring back eight or 10 assets if there’s any chance you’re not going to sign Ohtani? In hindsight, it probably wouldn’t have been the worst thing to do because there’s such a market for both guys.”
Now that Ohtani is a free agent, the Angels have no control over where he signs and may end up losing him for nothing. Trading Trout, if he’s willing to be moved, could bring back talent help to offset the loss of Ohtani if he doesn’t re-sign. While it’s hard to imagine the Angels would be better off without Ohtani and Trout, they haven’t qualified for the playoffs or even finished above .500 in any of the six seasons the MVP-caliber stars have played together. If Trout wants to cut bait with L.A. after Ohtani does the same, maybe it’ll be a win all around.