With the Angels now for sale, could they trade franchise icon Mike Trout? If so, the Astros would be interested.
Indeed, you have seen the news that the Los Angeles Angels are open for business regarding the franchise sale.
Long-term owner Arte Moreno has intimated that the team is indeed for sale. This is massive news in the MLB business world as it isn’t often that a team is made for sale, let alone in one of the biggest markets in the world.
With that said, perhaps an incoming owner would like the long-term costs of the team to be kept low to start their tenure in which case Mike Trout would have to be sold. Or, they want to start fresh. Another avenue is that Mike Trout is done with the Angels. No one would blame him for that.
Astros trade package to land Angels’ Mike Trout
Trout is in his 12th season with the Angels. For most of that time, he has been the absolute best player in the MLB. Though he has dealt with injuries over the last few seasons, he’s still one of the best to play baseball today. He will be ranked among the absolute best MLB players, perhaps the best, by the time his career is done.
However, fans of baseball needs to see Mike Trout play October baseball. That is something the Angels haven’t managed to do despite having Trout and superstar Shohei Ohtani. This is why the Angels might entertain trading Trout. This would be the best way to set up a rebuild or a quick rebuild. The Houston Astros need a centerfielder or left fielder and have the ability to pay Trout’s contract and prospect cost.
While the Angels likely don’t want to trade Trout to a division rival, the Astros could present them with the best offer. Houston would be forced to pay the rival trade tax by offering more, but it’s likely they would be willing to do that to secure the services of Trout. After all, Trout isn’t a rental. He’s owed over $296 million over the next eight years.
That contract will lower the prospect quality the Angels receive. If the Astros got Trout, they would be heads and shoulders above the rest of the MLB for the next half-decade.
This trade would be a massive boon to both the Angels and Astros. The Angels desperately need pitching in order to have any chance in the future. This trade would enable them to remain competitive in 2023 while preparing for 2024 and beyond.
In this deal, the Angels would the Astros’ No. 1 prospect Hunter Brown, No. 2 prospect Drew Gilbert, No. 10 prospect Forrest Whitley, and No. 28 prospect Peter Solomon while adding two quality young MLB players in Chas McCormick and Luis Garcia. The prospect rankings are according to MLB Pipeline.
Chas would be able to slot right into the Angels outfield and take over the spot vacated by Trout. He has proven to be a quality MLB hitter with decent power, speed, and good defense. This year, he’s hitting .238 with 10 doubles, 2 triples, 12 home runs, 37 RBI, 2 stolen bases, and a quality 36/79 walk-to-strikeout ratio. He’s been worth 1.3 WAR. The best part is that Chas doesn’t reach free agency until 2027.
Luis Garcia has the potential to be an elite starting pitcher. At worst, he’s a good No. 3 or No. 4 starter. He’s only 25 and has been in the MLB for two-plus seasons. He’s started multiple playoff games too. Garcia has thrown 128.1 innings this year with 40 walks and 132 strikeouts. He has a 4.14 ERA/4.05 FIP. He would immediately become the Angels’ No.2 or 3 starter behind Ohtani and Patrick. The Angels badly need help with pitching.
This is where the prospects Brown, Whitley, and Solomon come into play. Solomon has already made his MLB debut. He’s a flexible RHP that can start or come out of the pen. In 14 innings and 6 games in the MLB this year, he has a 1-0 record with a 1.29 ERA, 8 walks, and 10 strikeouts. He’s a quality strike thrower that just needs to master his command. Peter is MLB-ready and is controlled through the 2028 season.
Forrest is a multiple-top-100 prospect before struggling with injuries. In 2022, he has been hit hard with a 6.51 ERA over 10 games and 27.2 innings, but he has struck out 34 batters. In addition to that, he’s finally developing command with only 13 walks in that timeframe. Perhaps he’s best suited to be a late-inning reliever. However, the Angels can take their time with him and ensure he’s ready. He would still provide excellent value to an organization in dire need of pitching help. Whitley’s only 24. He’s yet to make his MLB debut so he has all 6 years of control remaining.
Hunter Brown is the centerpiece of this trade. As the Astros’ No. 1 prospect, it makes sense. Hunter has been dominant in Triple-A this year with a 2.63 ERA over 102.2 innings with 130 strikeouts. He has walked 43 and given up only 70 hits. Brown has the makings of being an All-Star pitcher. This would finally give the Angels an elite pitching prospect.
The final piece is newcomer Drew Gilbert. He is an outfielder that just got drafted in the first round by the Astros. He’s an elite fielder with All-Star potential. He’s only 21 and has an advanced hitting profile. He would be the Angels’ heir to the center field throne thrust with the pressure of replacing Trout.
Now, for the Astros to give up all this talent, they will want more than just Trout, especially due to his contract. That’s why they get utility infielder David Fletcher who is under contract long-term and is a quality player. Fletcher is signed through 2025 with options for 2026 and ’27 for roughly $26 million. He’s a high-contact player with good speed, hitting ability, and patience at the plate. His defense is great too. He can play any infield position and would serve as the top utility player for the Astros. Fletcher would provide excellent coverage in case of any injury.
Fletcher is hitting .290 with a .732 OPS this year and 7 doubles, 2 home runs, 15 RBI, and 7 walks to 8 strikeouts in 40 games. Last year, he struck out only 60 times in 157 games. Mind-blowing indeed.
Meanwhile, the star is Trout. Trout has hit 337 home runs in his amazing career and is only 30. He was named an All-Star again this year. He’s hitting .268 with a .956 OPS and 41 walks to 107 strikeouts. He has 27 home runs, 56 RBI, and 17 doubles so far this season. Trout would absolutely crush moonshots over the Crawford Boxes in Houston. He’s just the best player in the MLB over the last 12 years.
The Astros would be flying in space with excitement if they got Mike Trout and David Fletcher. The Angels would finally be admitting the truth and coming back to Earth with the realization that this team isn’t one player away from the playoffs. They should do the right thing and trade Mike Trout so he can enjoy some October baseball.