Yankees could make a run at Angels generational talent

mlb: cincinnati reds at los angeles angels, mike trout, yankees
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The New York Yankees face an uphill battle this upcoming off-season as they look to fill gaps in their outfield following Jasson Dominguez’s season-ending injury. Eventually, Dominguez will return, whether as a starter in centerfield or left field. Yet the Yankees need to fortify their defensive line and beef up their batting order, making an infusion of talent imperative.

The Yankees’ Tempting Option: Eyeing Angels Star Mike Trout

Here’s a tantalizing thought: What if the Yankees opt to stay on their recent injury-prone trajectory and aim for a seasoned superstar like Mike Trout from the Angels?

According to USA Today, Trout might just be on the trading block despite a full no-trade clause in his contract. If he’s open to a move, the Yankees could negotiate with the Angels to shoulder a large chunk of his hefty $37.1 million per-season contract, especially considering Trout will be 38 when the contract expires and has been contending with yearly injuries.

Breaking Down the Financials: Is Trout Worth the Gamble?

Trout’s contract carries a $35.5 million luxury tax salary. If the Angels were willing to cover half, investing $17.5 million in Trout could be a calculated risk worth taking. Given the soaring costs of experienced talent, even getting just 100 games per season with Trout’s elite offensive skills could be a gamble worth its weight in home runs.

Analyzing Strategies: Veterans vs. Youthful Talent

Over the years, the Yankees have heavily invested in aging veterans. Yet that could change if there’s a shake-up in the front office, particularly within the analytics department. The organization might pivot towards youthful athleticism instead of rolling the dice with pricier, seasoned pros.

Trout vs. Donaldson: The Offensive Powerhouse Exchange

Let’s assume for a moment that the Angels are willing to absorb a significant part of Trout’s contract. The Yankees could then offset this by swapping out Josh Donaldson’s salary for Trout’s. Consider that Trout is five years Donaldson’s junior and posted a .263 batting average and a .367 OBP this year in just 82 games. He managed 18 homers and 44 RBIs—enough to project him hitting close to 40 homers if he had played a full season, just as he did in 2022.

Stats Don’t Lie: Trout’s Power is Not the Issue

There’s no disputing Trout’s hitting power. He notched a 51.5% hard-hit rate this season, along with a 16% barrel rate and a max exit velocity of 114.3.

Bargain or Not? The Juan Soto Alternative

Rather than splurging on a blockbuster trade for Juan Soto, the Yankees might find a more cost-effective solution in Trout. The Angels may be eager to unload Trout’s salary, especially with Shohei Ohtani’s likely departure in free agency.

A Strategic Gamble: Trout Alongside Judge and Dominguez?

If Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman still harbors ambitions for a fast-tracked championship, adding Trout to a lineup that already includes Aaron Judge and expects Dominguez back in 2024 seems like a reasonable gamble. The real question is whether Trout, with his injury history, can be relied upon defensively.

Defensive Capabilities: What Trout Brings to the Field

This season, Trout has logged 681 innings in the outfield over 79 games, suggesting that he’s more than up for the task. With four outs above average this season, Trout has consistently proven to be an above-average defensive player in recent years.

The Opportunity Cost: High-Risk, High-Reward?

Trout could unquestionably elevate the Yankees’ game, but it all boils down to opportunity cost. Is the franchise willing to invest heavily in a player they might aim to avoid in the future due to his age and injury history? Trout is currently 32 and still contributing at a level well above average, a point to ponder, especially when you consider the Yankees recently committed $25 million per season across two years for Donaldson, who is clearly past his prime.

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