While everyone waits for the Winter Meetings dominoes to start falling — seriously, guys, any time now would be great — we at least know one name who won’t be going anywhere. In his appearance with the media on Tuesday afternoon, Angels GM Perry Minasian pretty unequivocally ruled out a trade involving three-time AL MVP Mike Trout.
Just to end whatever speculation might have been out there, Perry Minasian said today “Mike Trout is not getting traded. 100 percent.”— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) December 5, 2023
Some reporting the start of the offseason indicated that, for the first time since they drafted him back in 2009, the Angels were at least open to listening to offers on their superstar outfielder. It wasn’t hard to see the logic: If Shohei Ohtani does indeed leave in free agency this winter — as it sure seems like he will — Los Angeles will be staring at a long and likely pretty painful rebuild. The best way to jumpstart that rebuild? Dealing Trout, who at age 32 (and with growing injury concerns) isn’t likely to be a major part of the next competitive Angels team and could inject some badly-needed talent into a below-average farm system.
Granted, a trade involving Trout was always a long shot. There’s the $250 million remaining on his contract, for starters, not to mention his full no-trade clause and the aforementioned injuries — he’s been limited to just 201 games over the past two years, a trend that’s sure to scare some teams off from paying the Angels’ desired price. Trout doesn’t seem particularly inclined to uproot his life and go somewhere else — he committed to L.A. with a 12-year deal, after all — and you can understand why Minasian would be reticent to sell the face of his franchise at a steep discount.
So it appears that Trout will be back with the Halos for at least one more year, where he’ll hope to improve upon the .858 OPS he posted in 2023 — a very healthy number for most players, but the lowest full-season mark of Trout’s career. Minasian, for his part, seems committed to trying to keep the Angels at least within shouting distance of contention next season; the team has been linked to just about every prominent starter on both the free-agent and trade markets, and it hasn’t given up its pursuit of Ohtani yet either. If Ohtani bolts and the team falls back into the cellar, however — and if Trout stays healthy and puts up a bounce-back year — we could be having this conversation all over again in the winter of 2024.