The 2016 season has not been good for the Los Angeles Angels. They currently sit four games under .500 at 20-24, and it doesn’t look like they will turn the corner any time soon. With a barren farm system, their future doesn’t look any brighter. There is some thought that a trade with teams such as the Atlanta Braves or Chicago Cubs could work out well for both sides. However, prospects are never a sure thing, and new GM Billy Eppler would never hear the end of it from Angels fans if they didn’t work out. It would benefit the Angels to consider a different Mike Trout trade.
Straight up for Miguel Cabrera.
With Cabrera, the Angels would give Albert Pujols the bash brother he has desperately needed throughout his Angels tenure, constructing the most dangerous 3-4 combo since Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Cabrera would most likely strictly DH until the end of his contract, as the added athleticism for Albert Pujols at first base could give him his jump start he needs. He would take the starting DH job, as well as number 24, from C.J. Cron, who nobody has ever heard of before. Angels fans would welcome the addition, as Cabrera has won two MVPs in his career whereas Trout only has one. Pujols and Cabrera would more than deserve their remaining $405 million combined contracts, knocking so many home runs Angels fans might stop looking up casting calls on their iPhones and catch one! Cabrera’s contract is somewhat of a plus for the Angels, as they will be needing a power bat in 2022 and 2023 after Pujols’ contract is up.
Given Cabrera’s experience in the big leagues, it isn’t a stretch to think that he could be the piece the Angels need to make the playoffs and stay there. Playoff experience has proven time and time again to be a very important factor in October. Just ask the Royals, except for Alex Gordon, who has a broken hand and cannot likely type out a reply. In fact, Cabrera won a World Series with the Marlins in 2003, when Mike Trout was busy celebrating his twelfth birthday. No word on if Trout won the Lazer Tag game that year. Cabrera has proved over his 13-year career that he is a Hall of Fame-worthy great, while the same cannot be said about Trout, who is only 24 years old and still has plenty of time to pull a Jeff Francoeur.
Don’t be surprised if Eppler is the one to reach out to Al Avila this summer. The Tigers are all set in center field with Cameron Maybin hitting .600 and just being named AL Co-Player of the Week, coincidentally sharing the honors with Cabrera. An award, by the way, that Trout has not won once this year. With Trout only batting .321, he would find himself battling Maybin for the center fielder job, and may even have to platoon in left with the struggling Justin Upton.
Trout would most likely welcome a trade to Detroit, where he can stop living his nightmare of arch-nemesis Bryce Harper being both better than him and on a better team, and focus on winning meaningful games. It is strange to imagine that Cabrera could become an Angel before Tigers 89-year-old owner Mike Ilitch, but future heir Chris Ilitch can rest easy having saved the $156 million difference between Cabrera’s contract and Trout’s.
As the trade season heats up, anything can happen and it’s easy to play armchair GM. But this trade just makes too much sense, and we may be seeing Trout in the old English D wearing number 26. He would have to change numbers because Jordan Zimmermann already wears number 27.