The Los Angeles Angels continue to approach some hefty decisions with the future of their franchise, and because of the nature of Mike Trout and still hold value, where Shohei Ohtani signs has immense implications.
Heading into the 2024 season, the Angels have a projected $161.6 million in Tax Payroll, which includes estimates for arbitration, pre-arbitration players. That leaves them with about $106 million in space until the competitive balance tax threshold.
The importance of that is their ability to allocate that money to Ohtani, who’s set to command a record-setting contract on the open market. The pure average annual value (AAV) will be unlike a lot of what has been given out, but for a player of his stature, the Angels’ immediate future hinges on it, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post:
“One veteran agent told me recently that if the Angels do not re-sign Shohei Ohtani, he believed they would pivot and become sellers. I have difficulty seeing that under owner Arte Moreno. He has never seemed the type to face the reality of his roster or to be able to play three-dimensional chess.”
Their last-ditch effort at the Trade Deadline saw the exodus of their top remaining prospects, which pushed their depth back even further.
The unique nature of the franchise is like a few in Major League Baseball, in that there isn’t much of a place to go but up with their farm system. Owner Arte Moreno and general manager Perry Minasian have to be in somewhat, lockstep, to make it successful.
Our take on what the Angels should do with Mike Trout if Shohei Ohtani leaves
Striking gold on one generational player within a 10-year block is usually enough to build a franchise around, the first of which was Trout. When the Angels selected him in the first round with the 25th overall pick, it took him just two years to reach the big league level at the age of 19.
He’s since become a pillar of the organization, but the front office has failed miserably in building up the farm system, which would then allow the team to create a pathway for young, controllable players to fill out the roster.
But if the Angels trading Trout hinges on one thing, it’s that the receiving team decides that gambling on a 32-year-old making a base salary of $35.45 million a season until he’s 38 would be a wise investment.
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