There’s an increasing feeling that Mike Trout could be traded, which has given rise to the feeling that he will never be traded, because the asking price would be so high that other teams would rather just… not.
Of course I have to start with a disclaimer: This wouldn’t even make sense for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Yet, Trout is set to make, at most, around $34 million dollars a year from 2018-2020. And that’s a bargain. It seems absurd, but consider Ryan Braun‘s contract. He is, at least before deferments, making $20 million dollars a year. And he is worth at most about half of what Trout is, based on several different measures of WAR.
So let’s say Braun is worth around 3 WAR a year. That should also be in decline, given his age. Mike Trout is worth about 10 WAR a year. If we assume that Braun, at 3 WAR for $20 million is a fair deal (which is about right given the general $6-$7 million per win baseline), then Trout should be fairly compensated at over $60 million dollars a year.
Because he is being paid so “little,” his value is even higher. He isn’t just the best player in baseball, he’s the best deal in baseball. He’s worth twice what the Angels will be paying him, and they aren’t even paying that much yet. His salary this year is smaller than Braun’s.
So what could the Milwaukee Brewers do to get the best in baseball?
Let’s start with the Angels biggest weaknesses:
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So it may at first glance appear that this isn’t a very good team, on account of all the weaknesses. At second glance, their record is 43-52, so, yeah, still a bad team. But at THIRD glance, this team has the most valuable trade commodity and the best player in the league, 24 year old Michael Nelson Trout.
No one is going to like this trade. The Angel’s front office adores Trout, as one typically does with a once-in-a-generation talent. The Brewers would never give up this much, and Trout would probably veto a trade to Milwaukee anyway, assuming he likes big-city, big-market living.
After all, a big market would have the ability to both pay him and still have enough cash left over to pay for a team good enough to win the World Series. In 2018, about one third of the Milwaukee Brewers payroll would have to be Trout, regardless of what a great bargain he is.
So let’s get started on this unholy thing.
Mike Trout – new starting center fielder and the new King of Milwaukee
Jonathan Lucroy – new starting catcher
Ryan Braun + $60 million – new starting left fielder
Junior Guerra – new starting pitcher
Okay that’s all. Would that be enough? No? Oh God.
Brett Phillips – new top prospect
Josh Hader – new top pitching prospect
And here we are, at the logical conclusion. Because at some point, having Trout until the end of the 2020 season becomes too weak an incentive to move so many players.
I know, it sounds crazy, because he’ll be a shoe-in Hall of Famer by then, but the Brewers still have to win games, and at some point, “All out for Trout,” while a catchy phrase, becomes too much.
And though the Brewers are likely going to trade most of the above non-prospects this season anyway, the return on Lucroy, Smith, Jeffress, and maybe Guerra, would be worth more to the Brewers even than superhuman Mike Trout.