The greatest living ballplayer turned 85 on Friday, and on Friday night Willie Mays was honored at AT&T Park, near the statue built for him by the team to which he will forever be tied. Of the 2,992 games Mays played, all but 135 were with the Giants, because through changes of coasts, managers and general managers and bad and good finishes in the standings, the folks who ran the franchise maintained the wisdom to keep one of the best players of all time.
The Braves did the same with Hank Aaron, as the Yankees did with Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle and the Red Sox with Ted Williams. As the Angels prepare for the growing possibility they will submerge into a competitive sinkhole now that ace Garrett Richards has been lost to a season-ending elbow injury, the examples of Mays, Aaron, Mantle and Williams are worth remembering.
Already there are tweets and columns constructed around the idea that the Angels should trade Mike Trout, who, early in his career, has climbed the career trajectory of players such as Mays, Aaron and Mantle, and barring injury, he appears destined to be an all-time great.
So they should never, ever, ever seriously consider trading him, unless he informs the Angels he will not, under any circumstances, re-sign with them when he becomes a free agent after the 2019 season.