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Mike Trout Needs to Start Thinking About His Exit From the Angels

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim signed Mike Trout to a 12-year, $426.5 million contract in 2019, with a nifty $20 million signing bonus. Assuming he fulfills the entirety of the deal, that’ll make Trout an Angel until he’s 38 years old in 2030.

But with the way things are going in the organization – and the very high likelihood that fellow superstar and impending free agent Shohei Ohtani will be looking elsewhere this offseason – it would behoove Trout to consider his own exit from the Angels as quickly as possible.

Just this week, the Angels dumped a slew of players onto the waiver wire, many of whom were acquired at the trade deadline this year in a misguided attempt to stay in the playoff race. In true cursed Angels fashion, a decent week ahead of the trade deadline prevented the team from trading Ohtani for a tremendous haul that could have changed the team’s fortunes moving forward.

And in even more cursed Angels fashion, two of those players waived – Randal Grichuk and Hunter Renfroe – are still playing for the Angels as they await their fate and are, of course, having great weeks at the plate.

So instead of flipping Ohtani for a haul of prospects to replenish a depleted farm system, the Angels are now staring into the abyss with a bad major-league team, a bad farm system, and no real path to getting better anytime soon.

The Time Has Come for Mike Trout to Demand a Trade

Sure, it’s hard to feel too bad for Trout. But purely from a baseball perspective, no player wants to waste away his career on a bad team. And as baseball fans, we actually want to see what Trout can do in the postseason. Part of the reason he’s been a hard player for the league to promote – despite the fact that he’s arguably the best player in the game when healthy – is that he’s never really playing meaningful baseball. To this point, Trout has only played in three postseason games, a 2014 ALDS series loss against the Kansas City Royals when Trout was 22 years old.

If Trout were to ask out of Anaheim – a completely reasonable request at this point – there will be no shortage of teams lining up for his services, even with his gargantuan contract and now-spotty injury history. And if the Angels were willing to eat some of his contract to get themselves an even better deal, suddenly half the league will be looking at Trout as a viable trade target.

The Angels really have no choice here. Trout is already 32 and there’s no realistic way this team will compete for a World Series anytime soon.  This year, the Angels have the eighth-worst team ERA in baseball at 4.66 and after annihilating their roster this month, who knows what to expect going into 2024. There’s just very little hope on the horizon for this franchise and it’s time to face the music by stripping this thing down to the studs. The Angels won’t get anything for Ohtani if he leaves, but they can salvage the wreckage of this sinking ship by getting something for Trout.

Perhaps Trout feels a sense of loyalty to the Angels, which is admirable. But this is about as dysfunctional an organization as there is in baseball, so nobody would fault him for wanting a fresh start elsewhere. Playoff baseball would simply be better with Mike Trout in it – heck, even halfway decent regular season baseball needs Mike Trout.

That won’t be happening with the Angels for a long, long time, and it’s truly best for both parties moving forward to find an amicable split. The Angels get to replenish a disastrous farm system and Mike Trout gets to move on from a waking baseball nightmare.

The entire baseball world deserves this fresh start.

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