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OC Register: Mike Trout sidesteps questions about his future as he opens spring training with the Angels


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TEMPE, Ariz. >> As he begins what could be his penultimate spring training with the Angels, Mike Trout avoided the elephant in the room.

Trout, whose contract expires after the 2020 season, would not directly answer questions on Monday about whether extension talks have begun or whether he wants to remain with the Angels beyond next season.

“I don’t want to comment on that,” Trout said. “Like I said, I enjoy playing here. I’m having fun. Obviously, losing is not fun, but I enjoy playing this game. I leave it out on the field every night, every day and I go from there.”

Owner Arte Moreno, who spoke to the media a few hours later while the team was conducting its first full-squad workout of the spring, also refused to say whether any negotiations have occurred.

“I would probably say that we’ve been in (internal) discussions,” Moreno said. “One of the last interviews I gave I said it’s not in the back of our mind, it’s in the front of our mind.

“I think it also depends on the agent and the player. So it’s not like it’s just us. We try to keep in communication with how the agent is feeling and how the player is feeling about where they are.”

The general belief around the club and within the industry is that the Angels will be willing to do whatever it takes financially to keep Trout, 27. He has two years left on a six-year, $145-million contract. He’ll make $34 million each of the next two seasons.

His next contract will certainly be a record-breaker. Earlier this winter a source said Trout camp was waiting to see the deals that Bryce Harper and Manny Machado signed before opening any sort of formal negotiations. They are still unsigned, a point that has upset many players, including Trout.

“It’s obviously not good for baseball,” he said. “You’ve got two of the top guys not signed yet. Teams are saying they want to rebuild, but why not start with one of the top guys?… It’s disappointing for the players.”

Money aside, Trout is certainly going to get paid by whatever team he chooses, so it will be a matter of where he wants to play.

A native of New Jersey, Trout still spends his winters on the East Coast.  He grew up cheering for the Philadelphia Phillies and still loves the Eagles.

“I don’t think I went a day this offseason without someone asking ‘Hey, when are you coming to Philly?’” Trout said. “I can’t predict the future.”

Trout has said repeatedly that the most important factor to him is winning.

The Angels, as has been well chronicled, have made the postseason just once in Trout’s seven seasons, a three-game cameo in 2014.

They are coming off three straight losing seasons, although they were just two games under .500 in each of the past two seasons.

Trout isn’t tipping his hand as to what he wants to do in 2021 and beyond, but he said on Monday that he believes in the direction the team is headed for 2019 and the immediate future.

General manager Billy Eppler didn’t make any splashy move over the winter, but he did retool the roster enough that there could be 10 or 11 new faces on the opening day roster.

“Each year since Billy’s been here, he’s been bringing in guys that improve the team,” Trout said. “That’s all you can ask for. Obviously, we weren’t where we wanted to be the last few years, but it’s like a puzzle, trying to bring in guys that fit this team. We’ve brought a bunch of veteran guys in, and we’ll see where it goes. I come here, and I can only do what I can do. But bringing in new faces, it’s good.”

Trout also said he thinks the injuries have been the team’s biggest problem in recent years.

“I think we lost something like five starters last year or something crazy,” Trout said. “That doesn’t help. When we get knocked down, we just have got to try to get back up as quick as we can.”

He added: “If we can figure out a way to stay healthy, we can make a push.”

Trout has been injured each of the past two seasons, missing seven weeks with a torn thumb ligament in 2017 and a couple weeks with a right wrist injury in 2018. In 2017 he was hurt on a head-first slide, so he started wearing a protective glove when he’s on the bases.

Trout said he does what he can to avoid injury, but he can’t play the game cautiously.

“If you play the game hard, you are going to dive, you are going to hurt yourself,” Trout said. “If you hold back and try to prevent it, that’s when you get hurt.”

The Angels obviously want Trout on the field as much as possible, because he remains unquestionably the best player in the game. He’s not only put up historic numbers in his first seven seasons, winning two MVPs and finishing second four times, but he’s improved.

Last year he specifically mentioned wanting to improve his defense. According to most defensive metrics, he made a dramatic improvement. He was a finalist for the Gold Glove, an award he’s never won.

This year Trout did not have any specific areas for improvement in mind.

“Just to be more consistent,” he said. “There is no one thing. Just try to get better at everything.”

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He gave his answer, and that should be enough. However, he'll be asked the same question a zillion times until he either signs an extension, or becomes a free agent. In the mean time, the media will imply that he's being difficult when he eventually seems irritated being asked the same question for the zillionth + 1 time.

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I'm gona be honest... I'm not one to jump to extreme conclusions or anything but there are definitely some concerning statements in this article, at least more so than we have heard previously.

55 minutes ago, AngelsWin.com said:

“I don’t want to comment on that,” Trout said. “Like I said, I enjoy playing here. I’m having fun. Obviously, losing is not fun, but I enjoy playing this game. "

“I think it also depends on the agent and the player. So it’s not like it’s just us.”

 "I don’t think I went a day this offseason without someone asking ‘Hey, when are you coming to Philly?’” Trout said. “I can’t predict the future.”

Trout doesn't want to comment on re-signing with the Angels. He enjoys playing here, but more specifically he simply enjoys playing the game (where ever or however). Moreno puts the hold up on Trout's end. Mike 'cant predict' whether or not he'll go to Philly.

If I am the Phillies I withdraw my offer to Harper stat.

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7 minutes ago, AngelsLakersFan said:

I'm gona be honest... I'm not one to jump to extreme conclusions or anything but there are definitely some concerning statements in this article, at least more so than we have heard previously.

Trout doesn't want to comment on re-signing with the Angels. He enjoys playing here, but more specifically he simply enjoys playing the game (where ever or however). Moreno puts the hold up on Trout's end. Mike 'cant predict' whether or not he'll go to Philly.

If I am the Phillies I withdraw my offer to Harper stat.

The Phillies openly say they have stupid money to spend. If I had a team and stupid money I would want both Harper and Trout.

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1 hour ago, AngelsWin.com said:

“I don’t think I went a day this offseason without someone asking ‘Hey, when are you coming to Philly?’” Trout said. “I can’t predict the future.”

Hopefully he's getting annoyed by all the local Philly fans constantly bothering him about it, and clogging up his social media pages, and he will prefer the more relaxed atmosphere he has in Anaheim. 

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1 minute ago, Fish Oil said:

I have no idea how much they have, but I've seen plenty of speculation about whether they will sign both Harper and Machado this offseason.

It's mid February and they haven't even signed one. They aren't signing both.

Also it's not impossible to think that Trout could cost as much as Harper and Machado combined.

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11 minutes ago, ten ocho recon scout said:

So, do we ignore harper and machado, and still blow trout away with a mega deal? Or do we wait until they sign, offer trout something lesser (like a stanton deal) and gamble hes ok with the market?

I think we should pay him whatever we think he'll be worth to us. A lot of it also comes down to what he wants from the deal as well, in terms of length and opt outs. I would also consider paying him more annually in exchange for a buyout 5 or 6 years into a 10 year deal.

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Trout is a diplomatic man. I don't believe we'll ever hear him say, "Losing sucks, I'm outta here!" or anything remotely similar in tone.

But it has to be galling to see the glacial progress of this team towards postseason success and know that you can't do much more about it.

If we finish in third or fourth place again, you have to wonder how much patience he'll have left.

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11 minutes ago, Taylor said:

I'm convinced there are some folks here who are secretly rooting that Trout leaves the Angels so that they'll have something to complain about for years to come. If and when the Angels extend Trout, that destroys their whole "Arte is cheap" narrative.

Yes but when he signs the extension those same guys will just say we screwed that up.  Or when he declines they’ll turn on him. Whatever it is they’ll be happy to be miserable. 

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