Should the Angels Rebuild?

After getting absolutely nothing for Shohei Ohtani, the Angels are now facing a tough future. Their other superstar, Mike Trout, is now 32, past his prime years, and struggling to stay healthy. Just as importantly, their farm system is the worst in baseball – and the team weakened it even further by trading away top prospects at the deadline in 2023.

Rationally, then, the case seems obvious: it’s time to rebuild. The team should just recognize reality, admit that they don’t have the pieces to contend this year or next, and plan for the future.

The other big reason? They have some pieces to trade that the market would be interested in. So let’s take a look at what they could deal if they pulled the trigger on a full rebuild. Let’s assume all trade candidates are veterans with three years or less of control.


At this point in the offseason, the demand for quality starting pitching outweighs the supply, both in free agency and in the trade market. So the opportunity exists for the Angels to shop these guys for a decent return:

Patrick Sandoval

It could be argued that Sandoval is one of the most underrated starters in baseball. He may not be an ace, but he has all the qualities of a solid #2, or a #3 on a playoff team. He had a standout season in 2022, putting up 3.7 fWAR with a 2.91 ERA, a 3.09 FIP, and strong underlying metrics. He took a step back in 2023, producing 2.3 fWAR, with a 4.11 ERA and 4.18 FIP – more of a mid-rotation performance. But he also brings durability, having pitched over 140 innings over at least 27 starts in both the past two seasons. He’s projected by Steamer for 2.2 fWAR in 2024, and still has three years of control, which is partly why he’s valued, in our model, at $37.3M.

Using our Value Matcher tool, on a 1-1 basis, Sandoval could potentially bring back Samuel Basallo of the Orioles (who could use a solid veteran in their rotation), Cade Horton of the Cubs, or Spencer Jones of the Yankees. But realistically, most teams don’t trade elite prospects for non-elite veterans, so it’s more likely Sandoval would generate a package deal, like this one recently proposed by user OtisMarston:

Padres get


Angels get


Patrick Sandoval


Samuel Zavala



Jairo Iriarte



Dillon Head



Adam Mazur







Griffin Canning

After a rocky start to his MLB career, filled with injuries including a TJS, Canning righted the ship in 2023, putting up 1.8 fWAR with a 4.32 ERA and 4.29 FIP over 127 innings. Now fully recovered, Steamer projects him to slightly improve off of that, for 2.1 fWAR in 2024, with a 4.19 ERA and 4.30 FIP, with his workload increasing to 144 innings. Those aren’t great numbers, but they’re serviceable. He has two years of control left, and a surplus value estimate in our model of $21.6M.

Again, using our Value Matcher tool, on a 1-1 basis Canning could bring back Miguel Bleis of the Red Sox, Colton Cowser of the Orioles, or Bryce Eldridge of the Giants. On a package basis, something like this deal proposed by Ms. Dajuba could work:

Angels get


Red Sox get


Nick Yorke


Griffin Canning


Wilyer Abreu








Jose Suarez

Jose Suarez is a back-end type coming off a dreadful year, but who has shown flashes of moderate success in the past. He put up 1.3 fWAR in 2021, 1.6 fWAR in 2022, but fell apart in 2023 with -0.5 fWAR, along with an ungodly 8.29 ERA and 7.32 FIP. His Baseball Savant page is almost all blue. He’s also out of options, so he can’t be sent down.

So why would anyone want him? He’s still young-ish, at 26, and, given some previous success, could be fixable. He has three years of control, and at best, could be used as a depth swingman. But unsurprisingly, he won’t get you much. We have his value at $5.1M. That’s essentially a low-ish tier 40+ rated (on the 20-80 scale) prospect, or two 40-ish types.

Tyler Anderson

The Angels are reportedly shopping Anderson, a veteran who enjoyed one breakout year with the Dodgers in 2022, parlaying that into a three-year, $39M contract with the Angels, but who struggled in 2023, with only 1.1 fWAR, a 5.43 ERA, and 4.92 FIP. Steamer projects him for more of the same, at 1.1 fWAR in 2024. He’s still owed $26M over his final two years, which is why we have him underwater, at -$8.8M in estimated value. To trade him, the Angels would have to eat at least that much to get anything back. For this exercise, let’s assume they kick in $9M to cover that gap over his final two years, and get back cash or a PTBNL equivalent to $0.2M in value.



In a market starved for offensive impact, the Angels have two players of interest, whose trade values are significant enough to return some interesting young talent, plus one huge name.

Taylor Ward 

Not enough people are talking about Taylor Ward as a potential trade candidate, so let’s do it. He has upside, as he showed in his breakout year in 2022, where he put up 3.9 fWAR, and slashed .281/.360/.473, for a 137 WRC+. Fantastic season. But he fell back to earth in 2023, putting up 1.5 fWAR (limited somewhat by injuries), and slashing a more average-ish .253/.335/.421, for a 107 WRC+. He has three years of control, and, if he can stay healthy (always a big if with him), could really impact a team. We estimate his value at $23.2. So what could he return?

Using our Value Matcher, on a 1-1 basis, Ward could get you a Top 100 prospect like Harry Ford of the Mariners (who could use another outfielder), Dylan Lesko of the Padres (same), or Orelvis Martinez of the Blue Jays.

On a package basis, this proposal from WestCasey would make some sense, as the Guardians are in perpetual need of an impact bat for their outfield: 


Angels get


Guardians get


Gabriel Arias


Taylor Ward


Will Brennan








Luis Rengifo

It took a while, but he finally got there. For years, it seemed, Luis Rengifo was talked about has a high-potential performer, but he struggled in utility roles until his breakout in 2023, where he slashed .264/.339/.444, for a 114 WRC+, the key difference being improved plate discipline, which upped his OBP. He’s now 27, and in his prime, which is why Steamer projects him for 2.4 fWAR in 2024. He has two years of control left, and now into his arbitration years, so he won’t bring back a ton – we estimate his surplus value at $13.7M. Using our ValueMatcher, on a 1-1 basis, that will return a back-end Top 100 prospect such as Tyler Black of the Brewers, Colt Emerson of the Mariners, or a young, high-upside guy like Rayner Arias of the Giants.


The big question: What to do with Mike Trout?

If the Angels do decide to go full rebuild, what’s the point of keeping their aging superstar? 

There isn’t one. Well, in theory, they could keep him around for 3+years of losing seasons, until maybe they’re more competitive in, say, 2027, at which point Trout will be 35 and a mere shadow of his former self. I know that Angels GM Perry Minasian has already squashed the idea of trading Trout this offseason, but let’s ignore that for now and assume he’ll reconsider.

In the trade-him-now scenario, they’d have to eat a bunch of cash to deal him – and that seems to be a hard pillow to swallow for owner Arte Moreno (not to mention the fact that he’d be admitting to failure as the Trout era would come to a close). But let’s say he did.

The key to Trout’s appeal is that he’s still an impact player when he’s healthy. By our math, he still projects for $178.4M in field value over the next seven years of his contract. He’s owed $248.2M, for a negative surplus of -$69.7M. So in theory, the Angels could eat $70M (say, at $10M per year) to clear the books and get nothing back. But if they agreed to eat a bit more (say, $20M per year, or $140M total), Trout could bring back $70M in prospect value – now we’re talking. 

This would be a similar move, on a larger scale, to what Steve Cohen and the Mets did by dumping Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander at the 2023 deadline, overpaying their negative value to buy Luisangel Acuna in the Scherzer trade and Drew Gilbert and Ryan Clifford in the Verlander trade. Would another team bite on this? 

That may be a bit much – so let’s say we split the difference and suggest the Angels pay down $15M per year (for $105M total), so that they’d get $35M in prospect value – that’s essentially two Top 100 prospects. A few more teams would consider that.

(Note: Anthony Rendon seems untradeable. He’s still owed $115.7M over the next three years, but only projects for $31M in field value – sure, you could eat most of that, but it’s a much bigger salvage job, so few teams would bite.)


So let’s summarize:

In this full-scale teardown, the Angels would, on paper, receive the following in prospect value:



















 *After cash is included, as explained above.

The value of their current farm, as our premium subscribers can see, is a measly $52M, so adding $136.1M in prospect value via trades would take them up to $188.1M, and vault their system rank from 30th out of 30 to 19th out of 30 – still not top-tier, but far better than today. That would actually put them ahead of the Rays and Dodgers.

What’s more, we haven’t included those young players who have already debuted and look to be forming an emerging core – Logan O’Hoppe, Nolan Schanuel, and Zach Neto – so a chunk of the young talent acquired in trades could conceivably join those players in time, and the Angels’ future would look a lot brighter than it does today.

Will they do it? It might be too late this offseason, but given the harsh realities of a weak, Ohtani-less MLB team with an aging Trout and not much else, combined with the worst farm in baseball, they should. They’re between a rock and a hard place – and this approach is their doorway out.


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love the read. like the Griffin Canning idea to red sox


The Griffin Canning trade makes little sense for the Red Sox. The ownership has clearly stated this year is a bridge year or worse. The RS should trade for a younger pitcher with more years of control.


It might be too late this offseason, if you read it. the idea of Griffin Canning for Wilyer Abreu and Nick Yorke would be good start for Angels type of trade. but we know with Mike Trout still there . it never be full blown Rebuild.


What about Detmers?

General Manager Badge

He has four years of control, and for the purposes of this article I kept it to players with 3 or less, thinking they might want to keep a guy like that.


I can't shake the idea that a Trout/Stanton swap makes sense. Sure, the latter appears to be cooked. But it clears $150M in obligations off the Angels' books, moves a So Cal guy back home and a NJ guy the same. NYY moves a guy who has worn out his welcome and gets some star power and someone to share CF with Judge (who feels over extended there). Perhaps the two of them combined give you 1.5 seasons of exceptional output. And when they are out there with Soto it would look like a HOF class. Yanks throw in an upside guy who could overlap with that Neto, etc window if things break right - and by then all the Stanton money will be off the books. Yes, the OF would feel a bit crowded with Judge, Soto, Trout, Verdugo, Grisham, Cabrera. But you don't let Trent Grisham stop you from doing anything, and perhaps Cabrera can be part of a package for an arm.