The Phillies trading for Mike Trout is a pipe dream

The Phillies trading for Mike Trout is a pipe dream

Through the first ten days of the 2017 baseball season, one of the most prominent topics surrounding the Philadelphia Phillies has for some reason been... their desperate need to make a trade for Mike Trout. 

Facing a young team bereft of superstars and a lackluster start to the season, a lot of Phillies fans are having starry-eyed dreams about the pride of Millville, N.J. putting on red pinstripes sometime soon. After all, Trout grew up rooting for the Phillies. He goes to Eagles games, and he's even hunting buddies with Carson Wentz. If there's any star athlete on another team who's "one of us," it's Trout. 

Radio hosts and fans alike are calling for the Phils to put a huge package of their top prospects on the table in an offer for the superstar outfielder, a two-time American League MVP and the best player in baseball, and bring Mike Trout to Philadelphia as soon as possible. 

It should go without saying: I would love it if Mike Trout ended up with the Phillies. You would love it. It would be incredible. Trout would probably shatter every record for jersey sales and usher in an era of Phillies excitement unlike anything since the World Series runs of the last decade. 

But let's slow down here. If Trout becomes a Phillie, it's unlikely to happen this year, next year, and probably not the year after that. Trout is not available now and there's no indication of that changing anytime soon. If you're ignoring the Phillies, barring the supposedly imminent arrival of a superstar with no plausible short-term path to your team, that's a great strategy for perpetual disappointment.  

Let's look at the practicalities: Trout is signed with the Angels for four more years, through 2020. The Angels have not made him available, and seem highly unlikely to make him available at any time in the near future. After all, if you were the Angels, wouldn't you want Mike Trout to spend his entire career with your team? And much as the Angels are described as a hopeless team with no future, they are, in the early going, in first place in the AL West. 

Now the Phillies could try to "make them an offer they can't refuse" of every single minor-league prospect you've ever heard of, and "do what ever it takes" to get a deal done. But that's not a strategy likely to get Trout to Philly. 

That's because there's probably no possible combination of players currently in the Phillies organization, whether in the majors or minors, that could get the Angels to say yes on giving up four years of team control of Mike Trout. 

Nola, Crawford and Alfaro? Crawford, Hernandez, Kingery and Hoskins? Herrera, Eickhoff, and Appel? If you were the Angels, would you say yes to any of those packages? I know I wouldn't. Hell, if the Phillies offered their entire current 40-man roster for Trout and Trout alone, I bet the Angels would still say no. 

Trout is, after all, the best player in the game, a probable future Hall of Famer, young and in his prime. Four years is a long time and while the Angels might not be world beaters now, they have plenty more chances to build a winner around Trout before his time in Southern California is up. There’s currently no force applying pressure -- a trade demand, a financial crunch, impending free agency -- that would give the Angels any urgency to trade Trout this year, or even next year. 

But let's say the Angels do eventually decide to trade Trout. Once again, it would likely not happen until 2019 at the earliest. Rather than negotiate with the Phillies exclusively, the Angels would probably attempt to set off a bidding war in which the Phillies would need to compete with various other teams. Were that to happen, the Phils wouldn't be offering their prospect list of today, they'd be offering their prospect list of a couple of years from now, which would probably consist of all different players and might not be as strong as the current list. 

There is a much more likely scenario: Trout signs with the Phillies as a free agent, after the 2020 season. They wouldn't have to trade anything, he'd get to choose his own hometown as his destination, and he'll still only be 29. 

Sure, it's a long time to wait. But it also doesn't entail the Phillies offering to jettison their entire future nucleus in a long-shot trade bid. If they did do that, the Phillies may very well end up with Mike Trout, no other star players and a barren farm system. In other words, they'd look a lot like the Angels right now. 

There's also the assumption that superstar players always live happily ever after once they sign crowd-pleasing nine-figure contracts with their hometown team. See the story of the Minnesota Twins and Joe Mauer for a particularly painful counter-example. 

The Phillies' brain trust has been consistent about their plan for the last 18 months: Develop the current core of young players, and when the team looks like a contender, start spending that sweet Comcast cable cash on free agents. 

Signing Trout in 2020, to go with today's prospects as they approach their primes, would fit with that strategy. But a trade of all their prospects for Mike Trout right now wouldn't be a Matt Klentak move at all -- it would be a Ruben Amaro Jr. move. 

Would the Phillies be better with Mike Trout right now? Yes. Would they be more exciting? No doubt about it. Is it going to happen? It's highly unlikely. Does Trout-to-the-Phillies have any business dominating discussion of the Phillies in 2017? Of course not. 

Catching up on some big Eagles stories from Week 1 of OTAs

Catching up on some big Eagles stories from Week 1 of OTAs

It was great to be back at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday and take in an Eagles practice, even if it was non-contact. There’s a lot of buzz around the team right now, and minimal time to cover everything, so let’s dive into some of the storylines that slipped through the cracks during the first week of OTAs.

The thought that the Eagles are secretly fuming over Carson Wentz seeing a private quarterback guru seems ridiculous. It’s not uncommon for NFL players -- even quarterbacks -- to seek council during the offseason. Tom Brady did it, and I don’t recall any drama ever unfolding with the Patriots as a result of that. Perhaps some mild concern has been expressed behind closed doors, as Wentz’s mechanics are a constant work in progress, and Eagles coaches surely prefer he learn the methods they’re teaching. Then again, I highly doubt somebody earned the title of “quarterback guru” if they’re not passing along standard NFL techniques. It was an even bigger reach to suggest Doug Pederson’s displeasure over this development was on display during his press conference on Tuesday.

I’m not one to place a whole lot of stock into OTAs, but seeing rookie cornerback Rasul Douglas on the field with the first-team defense in nickel situations is a promising sign. He didn’t look out of place, either. At 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, Douglas matched up well with Alshon Jeffery. I could see his size being an asset against NFC East rivals like Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall and Terrelle Pryor -- bigger receivers the Eagles will face two times each this season. While performance in OTAs typically means squat, it was about this time last year when Jalen Mills began ascending the depth chart, and he wound up playing quite a bit. It’s early, but given the situation at cornerback, not at all far-fetched to anticipate a similar role coming for Douglas.

While I agree with the premise Nelson Agholor could improve and go on to have a respectable NFL career, Eagles teammate Brandon Graham isn’t really the most relatable example. It’s time for the seemingly annual reminder that Graham’s progression was derailed by a major knee injury as a rookie. He essentially missed the following season, and was buried on the depth chart upon returning. A year later, the defense switched to a 3-4, which was an adjustment as well. Yet, time and time again, Graham would perform at a high level whenever he got into games, finally earning his starting job back in 2015. Agholor has been a starter the past two seasons, and aside from a high ankle sprain his rookie year, he’s been relatively healthy. What’s the excuse here? Agholor may be a late bloomer, but Graham’s experience breaking into the league was vastly different.

The revelation that Vinny Curry was affected by a knee injury last season can be taken one of two ways. Some may see it as an excuse for his modest performance after signing a massive contract extension a year ago, which currently looks like an expensive mistake. I prefer to view the injury news as another reason to give Curry a slight pass. We’ve all seen what an explosive pass rusher he could be, racking up 9.0 sacks in 2014 while playing only one-third of the Eagles’ defensive snaps. If he was hampered by the knee -- Curry admitted wearing a brace for much of the season -- that could certainly help explain why he often seemed invisible. Even if he simply wasn’t very good, Curry has another opportunity to prove himself in 2017. Might as well take the optimistic outlook.

Mike Schmidt shows off new sunscreen dispensers at Citizens Bank Park

Mike Schmidt shows off new sunscreen dispensers at Citizens Bank Park

Phillies legend Mike Schmidt is teaming up with Mayor Kenney, the city of Philadelphia, Independence Blue Cross, and the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation to help protect you from the sun's harmful rays.

As part of the Sun Smart America initiative, the Phillies will place 12 sunscreen dispensers around Citizens Bank Park in addition to 6 dispensers located elsewhere around the city. 

This Sunday, May 28th, is also Melanoma Awareness Day at the ballpark when the Phillies host the Cincinnati Reds at 1:35. 

Schmidt will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and try to promote the importance of protecting one's skin from the sun. He knows from a trying personal experience.

"The sun almost took my life," Schmidt told the Palm Beach Post after his battle with skin cancer. He spent months going through heavy radiation and chemotherapy and is currently cancer free.

The sunscreen dispensers at the ballpark can be found at all entry gates as well as on the Rooftop, Pavillion, and Terrace levels beginning on Sunday.