Phillies Are Not Going to Get Mike Trout: I’m Sorry

While Mike Trout will always be connected to the Phillies due to his hometown, it’s hard to realistically see the club ever trading for him.

The Phillies, and pretty much every team in baseball would absolutely love to have Mike Trout on their team. Trout has finished in the top two of AL MVP voting every year since becoming a major-leaguer. He is on pace to smash plenty of records before his career is over and has the most wins above replacement of any player through their age-24 season. At this rate, Trout will go down as one of the best players in baseball history.

Trout grew up in South Jersey as a Philadelphia sports fan. He holds season tickets to the Eagles and at every game I’ve been to he receives resounding applause. Every kid playing baseball grows up hopes to play for their favorite team, and some speculate the Phillies could make a move to trade for the player who grew up with them. However, I just can’t see them making a trade for Trout.

Trout is a perennial MVP who puts up nine to ten WAR per season. Fangraphs’ 20-80 rating system only goes up to seven WAR; Trout simply breaks their scale.

Meanwhile, the Angels farm system is notoriously empty. Dan Farnswoth of Fangraphs gave just one Angels prospect – pitcher Joey Gatto – a future value of 50 prior to 2016, which is considered “average”. Their farm system is in desperate need of a revamp, and nothing would jump-start that quite like the influx of prospects Trout would bring in.

But would the Angels really consider dealing Trout?

Their general manager Billy Eppler told Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports in May, “We have no intent or desire to consider moving Mike Trout — he’s not moving.” The Angels gave Trout a six-year, $144.5 million contract extension back in March 2014.

Even if Eppler changed his mind and started listening to offers on Trout, would the Phillies – or any other team for that matter – be able to afford what would likely be a very high price? Todd Zolecki of MLB.com offered up a hypothetical package of J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, Aaron Nola, Vince Velasquez, and Dylan Cozens. He and I are both in agreement that a package like that would not be worth it to the Angels.

If Matt Klentak started including other young players like Maikel Franco, Roman Quinn, Andrew Knapp, and/or Franklyn Kilome, they would destroy their chances for a playoff run in the next few years.

Whatever assortment of five to six young players the team would put together would likely only produce three to four long-term major-league contributors. Those three to four players would have to surpass Trout’s production by a significant margin since Trout is worth so much while taking up just one position.

Whatever possible trade would go down between the Phillies and Angels would determine the careers of both Klentak and Eppler. On Eppler’s side, the return for Trout would have to exceed the value he gives the Angels right now. For Klentak, he would have to put together a package that wouldn’t completely blow up the team’s future. That’s a risky endeavor for both sides, and too much risk will stop the trade in it’s tracks.

As much as I hate to say it, Trout will not be in red pinstripes anytime soon. They could make a push for him in free agency if he doesn’t re-sign with the Angels after the 2020 season, but nearly every team will make him an offer by that point. For the time being, we will have to watch his historic performance from afar.

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