West Notes: Trout, Angels, Sizemore, Eppler, Cain, Astros

Mike Trout is the game’s best player — really, he has been for some time — and he’s still three days shy of his 23rd birthday. That makes it all the more satisfying for the Angels that they have him locked up to a six-year, $144.5MM deal that does not kick in until next year. USA Today’s Glenn Davis explores how those happy circumstances came to pass in an interview with Halos assistant GM Matt Klentak. According to Klentak, Trout is not just immensely talented but also hard-working, detail-oriented, and grounded.

Here’s more on Trout and the game’s western divisions:

  • The Angels began thinking long-term extension as early as 2012, when Trout emerged as a force, but did not put the pedal down on talks until this winter. The extension came together in large part, said Klentak, because of “outstanding” communication between both sides, which allowed for multiple concepts to go back and forth before the ultimate framework was established. “Everybody knew where everybody stood, and it was a fairly positive, productive process all the way through,” Klentak explained. “That’s not always the case — I think that’s a credit to Mike, his character, and his family, and to [agent] Craig Landis as well.” The final contract, of course, gives the Halos control over their young superstar for an extended stretch without guaranteeing post-prime seasons, but also allows Trout to hit the open market at a young enough age to land another massive deal.
  • Klentak further noted that a major element of the drive to sign Trout, and other homegrown players before him, stems from the direction of owner Arte Moreno. “That’s something that Arte believes in strongly, that our baseball operations group believes in strongly,” said Klentak. “When you know the people as well as you get to know them over a player’s tenure in your organization, you feel more comfortable signing them to longer-term contracts.” Be sure to check out the rest of the piece for more of Klentak’s thoughts on Trout, the club’s overall composition, and the organization’s operating philosophies.
  • The Athletics appear to have decided against signing infielder Scott Sizemore despite previously showing interest, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Oakland could still have interest in bringing him in next year, Slusser adds.
  • As the Padres reach the final stages of deciding on a GM, the club is “focusing most closely” on Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, who says Eppler may now be the frontrunner to take over baseball ops in San Diego. Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller had been said to be leading the final field, which is said to include MLB executive Kim Ng and Red Sox AGM Mike Hazen. Scott Miller of Bleacher Report noted recently that Eppler was still “in the picture” to take on the role.
  • As we noted earlier today, Giants starter Matt Cain is scheduled for season-ending surgery to clean up bone chips in his elbow. Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News provides further details on the problem, which Cain said he has been dealing with in some form for the past decade. “They’ve always been there,” said Cain. “For some reason, they got in a different spot and they got aggravated.” With the problem failing to abate, all decided it was best to have the procedure now so that Cain could be ready for a normal spring ramp-up. San Francisco’s pre-deadline addition of Jake Peavy was connected to the club’s fear that it would be without Cain the rest of the way, Pavlovic adds.
  • The Astros felt comfortable dealing away starter Jarred Cosart in large part due to the development of the club’s arms both at the major league and minor league levels, reports MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. The swap — which followed up on prior trades of Bud Norris and Jordan Lyles — enabled Houston to bolster its outfield corp (with Jake Marisnick) in addition to adding a well-regarded prospect in Colin Moran“We’ve got guys all the way up and down the system,” said GM Jeff Luhnow. “It’s one of those areas that could very easily, with one or two injuries, go from a strength to a weakness. We’re taking a calculated gamble in this, and it’s the right thing to do.” Of course, as noted earlier today, the deal also cleared two offseason 40-man spots for the Astros, who will have many young players to consider protecting from the winter’s Rule 5 draft.

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