Could Yankees make bold Mike Trout trade if superstar pressures Angels?

...Or is it just Philly all the way?

Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Angels
Cincinnati Reds v Los Angeles Angels / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages
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Mike Trout is a generational talent who might be entering his twilight years sooner than any baseball dreamer wanted him to. Mike Trout is a Philadelphia Eagles season ticket holder who's made his post-retirement dream home quite clear to any observer. Mike Trout ... might want out, and could facilitate that move as swiftly as this offseason? Is there any chance the Yankees could get involved anyway?

With the likelihood of a UCL-torn Shohei Ohtani moving on from Anaheim growing ever closer to an assured reality, MLB insider Bob Nightengale reported over the weekend that the Angels would consider trading their longer-term megastar this offseason if Trout provided any pressure.

Mike Trout contract details with Angels

Trout's current contract runs through 2030, when he'll be a 38-year-old potential GOAT. He accounts, annually, for $35,541,667 against the luxury tax.

Unfortunately, his aging curve looks different than it might've pre-2020, when the baseball world had the game robbed from them from April through July, only for Trout to return a different and more fragile athlete. Currently on the IL with a hamate fracture, Trout played just 36 games in 2021 and 122 games in 2022, with fears surfacing that season that a newfound chronic (and extremely rare) back condition could prematurely end his career.

In other words, he could be the Yankees' next Carlos Rodón, and New York's potential pursuit of Trout -- at this juncture of his career -- would be the irony of all ironies. It would be the ultimate self-inflicted wound if he arrives and regresses further.

Yankees-Mike Trout Trade: Would it be worth it? Or responsible? What would it cost?

Trout's 2023 season is the year in which he's looked most compromised since the pandemic. Even with the devastating news drop and lingering back issue last year, he still managed to look spry, hitting .283 with 40 bombs and a .999 OPS/176 OPS+ in 122 games (remarkably Judgian).

This season, though, he's taken a step back, hitting .263 with 18 homers, 44 RBI and 104 strikeouts. Even with the expanded bases and new rules in place to facilitate the running game, he's swiped just two bags; as a younger player, he'd routinely threaten 30, and stole 49 in his rookie year. His current 130 OPS+ is his lowest in a full season ... by 38 points (2012, that same rookie season).

If Trout does want out of Anaheim, whichever team acquires him will be surrendering significant prospects (he is Mike Trout) while accruing significant risk. His age-31 season has been unpleasant, and will probably end prematurely. If a team wants to spend three top prospects and a significant pile of cash to acquire Trout's "Age 32-through-38," they'd better be damn certain their medical staff has made all the right projections and calculations. Can any Yankee fan in their right mind make that determination?

Instead, it seems likely Trout could -- and should -- find his way to Philadelphia, where he can play alongside the perfect logical fit for the Yankees' current outfield vacancy in Bryce Harper, a player whom Brian Cashman bragged about not pursuing in 2018. At least the Yankees now have the unique opportunity to repeat their draft day foibles and narrowly miss out on Trout a second time.

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