Shohei Ohtani Dominates MLB Offseason, Mike Trout’s Future Uncertain
The upcoming 2023-24 MLB offseason is set to be dominated by the Los Angeles Angels’ recent star player, Shohei Ohtani. As the reigning AL MVP, Ohtani is a highly sought-after free agent and is poised to sign the largest contract in baseball history. While all 30 teams have a case for signing him, some are more serious contenders than others. Until Ohtani makes his decision, he will be the center of attention throughout the offseason.
However, another Angels great, Mike Trout, also deserves attention this offseason. Trout’s future with the Angels is uncertain, as there were reports suggesting the team was open to trading the three-time MVP and one of the greatest players of his generation. Recent rumors, though, indicate that the Angels are currently planning to keep Trout for the 2024 season.
Trout, who is signed long-term and has a full no-trade clause, holds the final say on his destination. In September, Trout stated that he goes through this speculation every year and remains committed to the Angels. However, it remains to be seen if his stance will change in the coming months. For now, the Angels are potentially open to trading Trout, with some teams being more likely landing spots than others. The financial commitment and injury concerns surrounding Trout may pose obstacles in trade talks.
Trout, a 32-year-old slugger, had a solid season in 2023 despite battling injuries, posting a .263/.367/.490 batting line with 18 home runs in 82 games. While this would be considered a career year for most players, it was the worst full season of Trout’s career. Additionally, his injury troubles have limited his playing time, with him participating in only 49% of possible games since 2021.
Until Trout definitively states his commitment to the Angels, he will continue to be viewed as a potential trade candidate. Here are three reasons why Trout should consider waiving his no-trade clause to join a contender this offseason:
1. The Angels are heading for a down period
The Angels had a disappointing 2023 season, failing to make the postseason. With the likely departure of Ohtani in free agency and a thin farm system, the team’s outlook appears bleak. Despite having some promising young players, the Angels lack the necessary core to be considered championship contenders. Baseball America even ranked their farm system as the worst in baseball. With Ron Washington taking over as the new manager, the Angels seem destined for a down period or even a full rebuild. If Trout desires a shot at a World Series, he may need to explore other options.
2. Trout’s prime years are limited
At 32 years old, Trout’s prime years are dwindling, and his injury concerns are mounting. While he is a special player who may age differently than others, maximizing his chances of winning a World Series should be a priority. Trout has the ability to be a difference-maker and swing the balance of power in a division race or postseason series. However, his impact will diminish over time. Joining a contender now, while he is still at his peak, will give him the best opportunity to win a championship.
3. The AL West is highly competitive
The Texas Rangers recently won their first-ever World Series championship, and they are expected to be even stronger in 2024. The Seattle Mariners are on the rise and likely to be postseason contenders for years to come. The Houston Astros remain a formidable force, and although the Oakland Athletics may be struggling, the other three teams in the AL West present significant challenges. The Angels currently face an uphill battle in their division and have a long way to go to become postseason-caliber. Trout’s best chance at winning a championship may lie with a team that has a better roster and a less daunting path to the postseason.