Top prospect Mike Trout maintained his .500 average for Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday, going 2-for-4 and hitting his first homer. He’s 10-for-20 in five games for the Bees.
There will certainly be call in Anaheim for Trout to replace Vernon Wells in the Angels outfield if this keeps up. Wells is off to a 2-for-14 start (though one of those hits was a homer), and he was left out of Monday’s lineup in favor of Bobby Abreu. It’s doubtful the Angels will do anything for a few weeks yet, but at some point, they’ll have to address the likelihood that Trout is a better player than Wells, regardless of what the contracts say.
Trout is regarded by most as one of the two best position prospects in the minors, with Bryce Harper claiming the other spot. The 20-year-old hit .220/.281/.390 with five homers in 123 at-bats with the Angels last year.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Orioles “are moving aggressively on Manny Machado trade talks and now believe they can trade him by the end of the week.” There are reportedly “strong offers” for Machado from both the White Sox, per Ken Rosenthal, and the Cardinals, per Nightengale. The Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, and Yankees are also reportedly involved in talks, though it does seem unlikely that the O’s would trade Machado to a division rival.
Machado, 25, is a guy around which a team could build a franchise. The Orioles, however, seem resigned to the notion that they will not be able to sign him to a long term contract once he hits free agency a year from now. If they do deal him, it would not be terribly shocking to see the O’s just go all-in with a full rebuild, putting relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton and outfielder Adam Jones on the market, given that they too can become free agents following the 2018 season.
Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior he posted OPSs of .876 and .861. As such, the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.