The New York Yankees narrowly missed out on the chance to draft Mike Trout in 2009.
When Mike Trout was selected in the 2009 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the New York Yankees should’ve been either heartbroken or celebrating profusely.
Instead, they were nowhere in sight.
New York’s elimination from the fray would not have been the case, however, if not for two ill-timed free agent signings, both of which landed superstars in the New York metro area.
You see, when the 2008-09 offseason began, the Angels didn’t have two picks in the mid-20s in the ’09 Amateur Draft, allowing them to take a flyer on a pair of slugging HS outfielders — Yankees tormentor Randal Grichuk first at pick No. 24, and then Millville’s own Mike Trout with the very next selection.
The unheralded Trout was a local boy, and that proximity — not his stardom — explained why he was the only draftee to show up to MLB Network’s studio in Secaucus to celebrate his draft day.
So, how did the Angels luck into this fortuitous position?
It’s often been told that the Yankees forfeited the pick used to take Trout in order to sign Mark Teixeira — and that’s true. But the Angels had a pair of picks. If the Yankees still held pick No. 25, and the Angels coveted Trout as clearly as they did, wouldn’t they have simply sniped the NYY anyway with the 24th selection?
Well, they didn’t always have that pick in their pocket, either. That’s where … the New York Mets enter the picture.
Originally saddled with the No. 32 pick (after all, the 2008 Angels won 100 games!), Anaheim forfeited that selection to sign closer Brian Fuentes (who at least the Yanks went on to tag in the ’09 postseason). They were then summarily rewarded with Nos. 24 and because of the Yankees-Tex marriage, as well as (drumroll please) the New York Mets’ signing of Francisco Rodriguez! Yes, K-Rod is responsible for the Yankees dropping this Trout pop-up, too. Just great.
The Angels knew they had something special in Trout from long before they managed to add him to their family, as scouting director Eddie Bain tells it.
"“The first time I ever talked to (area scout) Greg Morhardt about him, he told me, ‘I got a guy in Jersey for next year’s draft who’s going to go into the Hall of Fame,’ and I started laughing,” Bane told MLB Trade Rumors. “I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that kind of statement from mostly parents. Usually, it’s not from a scout. But that’s what Mo said. I laughed about it, but I made sure to remember the name.”"
But LAA never would’ve made such a steal out of the Yankees’ backyard, and the NYY would’ve added the second coming of Mickey Mantle to their lineage if not for Mark Teixeira and…Francisco Rodriguez.
Hey, at least he’s not a Met.