In what’s shaping up to be a pivotal offseason for the Angels, they are facing a series of difficult choices regarding their superstar players. The future of their franchise hangs in the balance, with the possibility of parting ways with not just one, but potentially two of their marquee players.
Shohei Ohtani’s impending free agency looms large as the Angels brace themselves for the risk of losing the dynamic star. Meanwhile, Mike Trout, the former MVP winner with a hefty price tag, could find himself on the trade block in the coming offseason, though the risk factor is higher given his age.
Trade discussions involving Mike Trout have circulated in previous seasons, but the current state of the Angels’ franchise has never made such a move more plausible. Faced with a limited pool of prospects and a thin major league roster, the departure of Ohtani would leave a significant void. In this context, trading Trout, despite his iconic status within the franchise for over a decade, might emerge as the most prudent decision for the Angels’ long-term future.
However, Trout, 32, would not generate the same trade return as in the past. He has not played more than 140 games since 2016, and will have missed 249 games the past three years if he doesn’t return this season. He still has $248.15 million owed to him the next seven years.
The front office may assert that retaining Ohtani at the trade deadline was a choice without regrets. However, a glance at the Angels’ position in the standings tells a different story. Hovering at fourth place in the AL West and seemingly destined for yet another sub-.500 season, the Angels are on the brink of extending their playoff drought to nine consecutive years. This lackluster performance raises questions about the franchise’s management over the last decade, positioning them as a contender for the title of the most poorly run organization in sports.
If the Angels do indeed lose Ohtani to free agency in 2023, the spotlight will inevitably shift to Trout’s future. The decision to part ways with the franchise’s all-time greatest player, as painful as it may be, could be an outcome that neither player nor fans desire. Nonetheless, with the uncertainty surrounding the franchise’s direction, it’s a choice that may become increasingly inevitable. The Angels find themselves at a crossroads, with the weight of their past decisions and the impact of their future choices resting heavily on their shoulders.