As I was digesting the latest serving of bland filler on Mike Trout's prospects for playing time ("Yes he should play more / Wells sucks / But what about the money" - rinse and repeat), courtesy of our friends at Fangraphs yesterday, my eyes were drawn to a comment about half-way down, from some bloke named Colin.
Here's what he had to say:
How about a strict challenge trade, Trout for Harper? The Nationals need a CF more than they need a corner OF. The Angels appear set in CF with Bourjos, and Trout’s value is diminished in a corner spot. Harper could stand a few more months of seasoning in AAA (not to mention the Super II status benefit), which would probably delay this decision for long enough to let an injury determine the call up date (or complete ineffectiveness from Wells).
Of course this will never happen. Neither GM wants to run the risk of swapping a superstar for a lessor, or even failed, player. However, it would be fun to debate this trade for the next decade, especially if they remain essentially equal players moving forward.
Now, add on to this the home turfs of these two kids: Trout's from the East Coast, Bryce Harper grew up in the next state over from the West, and you have the beginnings of an interesting narrative.
Clearly both players bring something different to the table - Trout offers the better glove, more speed; Harper on the other hand will spend his 20s making some very large ballparks look very small indeed. You could probably make some assumptions about the attitudes and outlooks to life and to baseball of both prospects (which may or may not be accurate) as part of your assessment.
For me, it's a difficult one. I suspect Trout's speed and defense sit too well with Scioscia-ball for Mike to want to let him go, but it's tricky - you could argue that the National League might be the better fit. Flip that argument around and perhaps Harper is more of an American league prospect. Ultimately, as a dyed-in-the-wool Angels fan, I have, over these last couple of years, been conditioned to love Mike Trout like he's my own son, and so that tells you where my vote would go - I'd do the trade, but I'd need a little encouragement.
How would you vote?