There's no larger laughing stock in all of Major League Baseball, with the exception of perhaps the Oakland Athletics, than the Los Angeles Angels. They're the team every fan makes fun of with what's transpired over the last decade, and honestly, deservingly so. They deserve no sympathy for eight straight losing seasons and nine straight without a playoff appearance, especially after botching the Shohei Ohtani situation.
The 2024 season looks rough with Ohtani now gone and the Angels doing very little to make up for it. Yes, the bullpen looks much better, and they might even win a couple more games than they did last season if they stay healthy, but let's not kid ourselves. The Angels are a mess going nowhere right now.
With the Angels going nowhere, Zachary Rymer of Bleacher Report predicted that they'd be terrible in 2024 and look to sell some of their pieces at the trade deadline. He did, however, provide a twist that makes too much sense.
Angels trade deadline prediction is tough to read, but makes too much sense to scoff at
Normally when teams are nowhere near the playoff picture, they consider trades for veterans in an attempt to get younger and retool for the future. The Angels have done this in recent years at the trade deadline when they've sold, but have not made the big franchise-changing trade. The player who'd be part of a franchise-changing trade for the Angels right now would be Mike Trout, but Rymer correctly points out that he's not going anywhere. It makes no sense for anybody.
First, Trout has a no-trade clause. Even if the Angels wanted to trade him (they don't), he'd have to accept it. He's given no hints to show that he would accept a deal, even one that would send him to his hometown team in Philadelphia.
Second, the money is too hard to move. The Angels won't want to eat a substantial amount of money just to move off of the greatest player in the history of their franchise, and the acquiring team won't want to pay an aging and injury prone Trout a boatload of money through the 2030 season.
Third, the Angels would not get anything close to an acceptable return. They might if they ate a substantial amount of money, but we already know Arte Moreno won't be doing that. If that's the case, the Angels are better off just keeping Trout around.
Fourth, and most importantly, Moreno just won't do it. As long as he's owning the team, Mike Trout is not going anywhere. It hasn't sunk in for most fans yet, but it's the harsh reality. The Angels can be the worst team in baseball and Trout still won't be going anywhere.
It's hard for Angels fans to read that their team is stuck. They won't be as bad as Oakland, but they're nowhere near as good as the three other teams in the AL West, locking themselves in as a fourth place team with little to no hope for a Wild Card appearance.
In all likelihood the Angels will be bad once again in 2024 with Ohtani gone and the team doing very little to recover from that massive blow. Still, no matter how bad they are, Trout is not going anywhere, for better or for worse.