Trout to childhood favorite Phillies — is it worth it?
- Mike Trout is in the second year of a six-year, $144.5-million-dollar deal.
- Philadelphia currently has $0 on the books for the 2019 season.
- A package for Trout would likely cost the Phils some of their top prospects.
You're not kidding anybody, you've thought about it.
Mike Trout, about 40 miles from his hometown of Millville, N.J., roaming center field at Citizens Bank Park in the jersey of his favorite childhood team — the Philadelphia Phillies.
Maybe it was out at the bar indulging in a few drinks with some friends. Or you couldn't fall asleep one night and the baseball fanatic in you was looking at free agents by year and what additions the Phillies could make. It's possible, for the younger readers out there, you were wheeling and dealing to make your fantasy a reality on MLB: The Show for your PlayStation 4.
Whatever it was, it's safe to say in some capacity — similar to how we all think of how we'd spend the most recent Powerball jackpot if we won, regardless of if we even play — you've given thought to Trout in red pinstripes.
In 2013 with the Angels, when he returned to Citizens Bank Park for the first time since he tailgated in a parking lot before a 2008 Phillies game as a fan, the possibility of signing with the Phillies when he eventually reached free agency was presented to him.
"When the time comes, we'll see," Trout eventually said, first skirting the issue with a laugh.
He pushed off free agency to after the 2020 season with a new deal, but with the Angels out of contention and one of the worst, most barren farm systems in baseball, some have suggested Los Angeles think about parting ways with the perennial All-Star. Deal him and in return get, and sow, seeds that could one day blossom into a contender.
The Phillies already have quite the logjam in the outfield, but would it make sense for them to acquire Trout, possibly one of the most underrated players in the game? And yes, someone who has been to five-straight All-Star games and has finished either first or second in AL MVP voting every year since 2012 can be underrated. He's on a level that doesn't get recognized as much as, say, a Bryce Harper, partially because of his personality and also because he's playing in Southern California rather than New York, D.C. or Philly. He does great things almost every night that don't show up in a box score.
To evaluate if it would make sense you'd have to look at what it would take for the Phillies to acquire Trout.
Despite the Phillies being stacked at the outfield position, none, with the exception of maybe Odubel Herrera, have proved they're an every day player at the major league level. With Trout on the roster, you'd have one of the best players in baseball smack in the middle. No questions there.
The deal would have to center around the Phillies' top prospect, shortstop J.P. Crawford. And since the Angels would now need a center fielder, send Herrera back. Then add in some pitching.
Assuming the Phillies will either have to acquire or sign a No. 1 pitcher for their rotation, they'll need at least four others to go along with the addition. Right now it appears Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Jake Thompson, Vince Velasquez and Zach Eflin are the closest to securing or fighting for those openings. You want starting pitching depth but with Ben Lively, Franklyn Kilome, Ricardo Pinto and Adonis Medina in the system there should be some by the time the Phillies are competing. There's also Mark Appel if he can get healthy and somewhat reach his potential.
So include two of those. Just to pick some names let's say Nola and the right-hander Kilome, ranked the Phillies' eighth-best prospect by MLB.com.
Add in a catcher, let's go with Jorge Alfaro and then Andrew Knapp can be kept and paired with Cameron Rupp in Philadelphia. Throw in outfielder Nick Williams.
It would be a lot, but for the 24-year-old Trout, is it worth it?
Trout, who admitted upon his last visit that he was still an Eagles season ticket holder, is in the second year of a six-year, $144.5-million-dollar deal that pays him $19.25 million in 2017 and then $33.25 million through 2020. To put that in perspective, the Phillies have paid Ryan Howard $25 million each of the last three years. Oh and by the way, Philadelphia currently has $0 on the books for 2019 and the cash flow from its TV deal worth more than $2.5 billion with Comcast has begun to pour in.
The chances it happens — at least soon — are slim to none with the Phillies more likely, and probably responsibly, willing to gamble on their rebuilding plan than give up so much for one player, even for the level of player he is.
More importantly, Angels General Manager Billy Eppler said earlier this year they won't deal him. According to Trout, when speaking to reporters at this year's All-Star game, Eppler reassured him he'd be staying put. It would make sense if the Angels do part ways with Trout, they would wait a year or two to do it.
But even parting with some of the big names thrown out there the Phillies would have Eickhoff, Eflin, Velasquez, Thompson, Lively, Pinto and Medina left for rotation spots. Maikel Franco would remain in the infield with second baseman Scott Kingery still in the system. And as for the outfield, Trout would obviously be in center with this year's top overall draft pick Mickey Moniak rising through the ranks and Aaron Altherr still a possibility to grab the third spot.
Would it be worth it? It's at least exciting to think about.