MLB rumors: Why a Mike Trout trade away from Angels is now close to impossible

If the Angels were ever going to trade Mike Trout, their window seems closed after the former MVP’s latest injury.

Mike Trout and Perry Minasian next to an Angels logo

While the Los Angeles Angels lost Shohei Ohtani in free agency, they still had Mike Trout leading their hopeful charge towards a playoff berth. But now an injury has put Trout on the shelf, creating an awkward situation for everyone involved.

Trout suffered a torn meniscus and is poised to undergo surgery. His injury return timetable ranges from eight to 12 weeks. Moreso than just the 2024 season, Trout’s injury almost guarantees the star outfielder will remain in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.

The former MVP is guaranteed $35.45 million every season for the next six years. Owed $212.7 million collectively, a trade of Trout is seeming more and more unlikely, via Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

A trade of any player is always on the table, Rosenthal started his piece by saying. He didn’t necessarily report that Trout won’t be traded. But at his salary and now suffering a significant injury, Rosenthal is simply wondering if any MLB team would be willing to take that on.

To trade Trout, owner Arte Moreno would likely have to offer some form of financial compensation to facilitate the deal. Rosenthal pointed out that Moreno had done exactly that to trade Vernon Wells and Josh Hamilton.

But Mike Trout is a different breed, a player who has become the face of the Angels and at times the last bastion of hope. Even after Ohtani left for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Trout was adamant that he did not want to be traded and wanted to stick it out in LA.

Following his knee injury, the outfielder might not have a choice. While staying with the Angels his entire career would be a testament to his loyalty, without a road to the playoffs in sight, Trout could become stuck. While his stats are unquestionable, the Angels have yet to give Trout a chance to prove himself in the postseason.

Another injury later, 2024 is already looking like that time won’t come.

Mike Trout’s tumultuous Angels career

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Mike Trout (27) runs around bases after hitting a home run during the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Angel Stadium.Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
After being selected in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft, Trout made his debut for the Angels in 2011. However, after struggling at the major league level, Trout was sent back to the minors. But after some extra seasoning, the outfielder proved he was here to stay.

Trout won the Rookie of the Year in 2012, jumpstarting what has been a historic career. Over 1,518 games with the Angels, Trout has hit .299 with 378 home runs, 954 RBI and 212 stolen bases. He is a three-time MVP, an 11-time All-Star and nine-time Silver Slugger.

But his success has come with a number of injuries in the latter half of his career. Since 2020, Trout hasn’t appeared in more than 119 games. Outside of that 2022 season, Trout hasn’t played in more than 82 games. While he has shined whenever he’s on the diamond, ensuring he is patrolling the outfield and in the lineup has been the bigger problem.

However, even when Trout was fully healthy, Los Angeles has struggled to make the playoffs. Since his original debut in 2011, LA has made the postseason just one time in 2014. The Angels were quickly swept out of the ALDS.

Mike Trout’s stats put him up there with some of the greatest in MLB history. But without any postseason success, he could go down as baseball’s version of Dan Marino.

A trade – perhaps to his hometown Philadelphia Phillies – would seemingly give Trout a better chance of chasing playoff glory. But a move from LA isn’t what Trout wanted. With a knee surgery setback, Trout will likely get his wish; but not in the circumstances he nor the Angels were hoping for.