The Yankees have a deep, elite farm system. Mike Trout is the best player in baseball, a Jersey boy, under contract through the 2020 season, and on one of the worst teams in the MLB with one of the worst farm systems, headed by a former Yankee executive. If the Angels are smart, they would attempt to rebuild their farm system in one day by trading Mike Trout. They aren't going to be able to put a winning team on the field even with their star for some time.
The Yankees have the prospects to trade for Mike Trout. In fact, they have the prospects to trade for Mike Trout and still have a decent farm system leftover. Trout would instantly make the Yankees a contender, and should remain at the peak of his powers through his contract. The Yankees should at least make a run at Mike Trout.
What would a package for Trout look like? What pieces could the Yankees trade away, and who should they keep?
Keep: One of Didi Gregorius or Gleyber Torres. Trade: The other one
The Yankees have the luxury of having two potential very good shortstops locked up long term. Didi Gregorius is under contract through the 2019 season, is established as a solid 3 fWAR player, and should remain very cheap. Gleyber Torres is one of the best shortstop prospects in the game, and could be even better than Gregorius. One should stay, and one should go. I think both are valued about equally, so the Angels would conceivably pick one. If Didi goes, Tyler Wade replaces him on the roster until Torres is ready.
Keep: Gary Sanchez. Trade: Greg Bird
If Brian McCann were still on the roster, I suspect that any Mike Trout trade would have involved Gary Sanchez. He's the best young star on the Yankee roster. Now, they have no real catcher to replace him with, and no one burning up through the farm system. He stays.
Greg Bird is easier to replace. I'm a big believer in Bird, but you have to give up value to get value. The Yankees could replace him with some combination of Tyler Austin and any number of thirty-something average hitting free agents (Brandon Moss, Mike Napoli, etc). If they really want to go all in, they could sign Edwin Encarnacion.
Keep: Starting Pitching Prospects. Trade: Dellin Betances
Maybe this it the controversial one. The Angels will no doubt ask for some pitching in return for Mike Trout. The Yankees have a number of interesting advanced starting pitching prospects: Sheffield, Kaprielian, Montgomery, Adams, Enns, Acevedo, Abreu, etc. The Yankees need to keep as many of these guys around as possible. There aren't free agent starting pitchers available, and the Yankees don't have any real long-term starters on the roster. Brian Cashman may carry over zero 2018 starting pitchers from the 2017 staff.
However, there are tons of great relief pitchers available. Kenley Jansen, Marc Melancon, Aroldis Chapman, Brad Ziegler, and others could replace most or all of Dellin Betances. Betances is older than he seems (29 next year), and shouldn't be bet on long term. I love the guy, and think he is right now one of the top-5 relief pitchers in baseball, but he can be replaced with money right away.
Trade: Aaron Judge and Jorge Mateo Keep: Clint Frazier and Dustin Fowler
Aaron Judge and Jorge Mateo are high-risk, high reward prospects. Dustin Fowler is a little more of a safe, low-reward pick. Clint Frazier is somewhere in between. I think the Yankees should keep the lower-risk guys, and offer the higher-risk ones. Mike Trout makes the Yankees an instant contender, and the Yankees will need instant reinforcements. Judge and Mateo are poorer bets for 2017, although comparable prospects.
Bottom Line: Didi/Torres, Greg Bird, Dellin Betances, Aaron Judge, and Jorge Mateo for Mike Trout
Add 2-3 of lower-level prospects as well. This package seems plausible to me. It would be the best package of prospects traded for a veteran in recent history. The Angels immediate get a star closer, long term players at shortstop and first base, and two potential Mike Trout replacements for their outfield. The Yankees get the best player in the game.
But that's just my opinion. What is your best offer for Mike Trout? Should the Yankees pursue a trade for Trout, or should they sit tight with their current elite farm system? Let me know in the comments.