Shohei Ohtani finally made his decision in free agency, creating a big shift in the baseball world even though he only moved about 31 miles northwest from the Los Angeles Angels to the Los Angeles Dodgers on a 10-year, $700 million contract. Ohtani’s move means the Angels now have to go back to the drawing board and figure out what to do with star outfielder Mike Trout.
Trout is locked up through 2030, and he’ll be 39 when he’s a free agent in 2031. He is one of the best hitters of his generation and one of the faces of the sport, even if his personality is more reserved. The Angels have been unable to surround Trout with the right pieces to create a championship-caliber roster, making the playoffs just once in his tenure. Even with Ohtani in the fold, the Angels have been the definition of mediocrity. Trout and Ohtani have won a combined five MVP awards since 2012, and both won Rookie of the Year in their respective first seasons. The Angels have made zero playoff appearances with both players on the roster and haven’t come close to a winning record either.
It’s becoming obvious to most across the league the team is incompetent at building a title contender, even when it has a star on the roster under team control. Trout has been paid and at 32, it feels like he should want to move to a competitive situation. However, he did just decline to waive his no-trade clause and he seems content to play out the final years of his career for the only franchise he’s known.
The Angels publicly said they aren’t trading Trout, even if it is the best path to rebuilding their roster. And let’s be real, I wouldn’t trust them to get the rebuild right even if they did get handed top prospects in a Trout trade. This is more about Trout and wanting to win a World Series title. His legacy is in his own control as he enters the last stage of his prime before his production likely begins to decline.
The entire league would line up for a Trout deal, so the bidding war would help Los Angeles when it comes to getting a good return. As for Trout’s feelings toward the franchise, he has given them more than enough time to build a contender. What makes him confident to think they would get it right now?
Maybe he doesn’t care about winning, or it’s not as important to him as just playing the game he loves. All eyes are now on him, even if he prefers them to look elsewhere. This could potentially be Trout’s moment to go to a new situation and attempt to capture that elusive ring. We’ll see if Ohtani’s departure is the final push Trout needed.