As usual, the Los Angeles Angels are not performing to expectations. This is despite the fact that they have two of the best players in the game in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.

Since May 25, the team has the worst record in baseball at 11-31. The Angels are 19 games out of first place in the AL West and seven games out of the wild-card race. Familiar surroundings for this franchise. Another playoff season coming up without Trout and Ohtani participating.

Very little is working for the Angels. I think it is a fair question to ask if the franchise would be better off trading one or both of their stars for some talent. Instead of rebuilding around the duo, perhaps it would be best to move on from the tandem.

It is clear that Trout wants to stay an Angel. He has had multiple chances to become a free agent but chooses to ride it out with the Angels.

Yet, I believe he is the one the team should move.

Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani

Ohtani is the reigning AL MVP and could repeat in 2022 despite his team’s record. His abilities on the field are unmatched. If not voted as the MVP, he is still the best baseball player in the game. Ohtani, once again, made the All-Star teams both as a pitcher and a hitter. There are games where Ohtani gives up a run or two on the mound but wins the game because he scored a run after stealing a base and hitting a home run. You cannot trade a player like this.

Ohtani continues to not only shatter modern baseball by being a successful two-way player, but his success continues to be unprecedented. What he’s doing has literally never been done. Not to this degree.

I would trade Trout. He has been with the team much longer and is used to losing games with them. I would move him before his skills deteriorate.

Last season, it was Ohtani’s hitting prowess that stood out the loudest. This year, it’s his pitching that’s making the most noise.

The latest example came last week in his start against the Marlins, when he pitched seven innings, allowed no earned runs and struck out 10. It was his fourth straight start allowing no earned runs and his third straight with double-digit strikeouts. The shutout streak has lowered his season ERA to 2.44. Ohtani ‘s now fifth in the AL in strikeouts with 111, and his 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings is second best in baseball.

The offensive numbers are close to last season. He’s still getting on base at a solid clip (.343) and he’s on pace to again hit more than 30 homers and drive in more than 100 runs. He’ll likely end up with 20 stolen bases.

Simply put, Ohtani provides the Angels with two All-Star-level players in one roster spot. That is what makes him the MVP and why you do not trade him away.

The Angels spent the last decade trying to build around Trout. It has not worked. If they choose to make a trade this month to get some new talent before the trade deadline is over, it is Trout they should offer, not Ohtani.