Is Mike Trout to the Phillies still out of the question?
Mike Trout will soon compete alongside Phillies stars in the World Baseball Classic.
Three-time American League MVP and 10-time All-Star Mike Trout appeared at the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles' NFC Championship Game last weekend — just hundreds of feet away from Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
No, Trout did not sit next to Hollywood celebrities such as Bradley Cooper or Kevin Hart. Nor does he necessarily need Hollywood's perks or sponsorships, given his lucrative salary. Trout was there as an Eagles fan to ingest the postseason atmosphere — something that has eluded him throughout his Major League Baseball career.
The World Baseball Classic will give Phillies fans a reason to cheer the 31-year-old South Jersey native in the coming months. He will play on Team USA alongside Phillies stars J.T. Realmuto, Trea Turner, and Kyle Schwarber. Bryce Harper was also named to the Team USA roster; however, he remains sidelined following offseason surgery.
What if the legend of Trout lived on in Philadelphia based on a performance standpoint? It would be cool to see him don red pinstripes, but the Phillies would likely not be willing to part ways with some of their top prospects, such as right-handers Andrew Painter and Mick Abel.
Some Phillies minor-leaguers will see plenty of opportunities to compete and make the big-league or 40-man rosters in spring training. Painter is one of them. The right-hander was recently named among the top MLB pitching prospects, and this is no surprise, as he has quickly made a name for himself in the minors by using a commanding fastball and towering 6-foot-7 frame. The next-rated Phillies prospect is Abel. Similar to Painter, Abel has been one of the best pitching prospects to come out of high school.
A combination of Painter, Abel, and other Phillies prospects could be a reasonable trade package up front, with other pieces added.
Just imagine next year's starting lineup and rotation featuring Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. But this is all a dream at this point. Trout has had his chances to play for his hometown team but the stars do not seem to align with that coming to fruition.