Mike Trout says he’s happy with Angels’ direction, but questions will return this winter
ANAHEIM — When Mike Trout returns home to New Jersey, he expects to hear all the normal comments from friends.
“When are you coming back to the East Coast?” Trout said they ask him every winter.
Now that the Angels have suffered through a second consecutive losing season with Trout, the consensus best player in baseball, there is certain to be even more speculation that the Angels, for the good of the organization, should just start a rebuild by trading Trout.
General manager Billy Eppler has said repeatedly that trading Trout is not on the table, and Trout simply laughs at all of it.
“I like playing here,” he said before the Angels finished the regular season against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday. “The direction we’re headed in is a positive direction. We’ll see this offseason how it turns out for spring.”
Trout, 26, has spent six full seasons in the majors, and the Angels have made the playoffs once, and they didn’t win a game. The team was eliminated from the postseason in the last week three other times. Twice, the Angels were out of it early.
Meanwhile, Trout has been racking up historic individual numbers, leading to two MVP awards and three second-place finishes. This season, despite missing a quarter of the season with a thumb injury, Trout is likely to finish in the top five.
He was pulled from Sunday’s game after a fourth-inning single, leaving to a smattering of applause. He finished the season hitting .306 with 33 homers and 72 RBI. His on-base percentage (.442), slugging percentage (.629) and, obviously, OPS (1.071) will all lead the league. His OPS is a career high.
Yet, all of that earned him another October of watching the playoffs on TV. If he’s discouraged enough by that to want to play somewhere else, he doesn’t admit it.