The out-of-contention Angels have arguably wasted another year of control over baseball’s best player, center fielder Mike Trout, with whom they still haven’t even won a playoff game since his rookie campaign in 2012. But even though Trout’s team control is dwindling (2019 is the penultimate year of his contract), the Angels should continue trying to win with the future Hall of Famer – not trade him – Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times opines. While Trout would warrant a massive return in a trade, Shaikin argues that even the best prospects aren’t sure bets to produce in the majors or avoid injuries, using the package the White Sox received from the Red Sox for Chris Sale in 2016 as an example.
Of course, as opposed to shopping Trout – which, despite the Angels’ struggles, has always looked incredibly improbable – the Halos could try to keep him for the long haul. Trout is fond of Anaheim, Shaikin notes, though he writes that there aren’t any compelling reasons for the player to ink a contract extension now. Asked Friday about the possibility of signing a new deal, Trout told Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register: “I don’t know. It’s up to them. Obviously you’ve got to finish out the season and worry about it in the offseason. I don’t want to worry about it right now.” Trout added that his main objective is to win, and while that hasn’t happened in Anaheim, he didn’t throw its front office under the bus. Rather, he rightly suggested that injuries have played a huge role in the Angels’ disappointing season.
Here’s the latest on a couple other West-based teams:
- Twenty-year-old Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna may be on his way to joining Trout as an elite player, which is a difficult reality for the Diamondbacks, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic explains. The Venezuelan-born Acuna signed with the Braves for a $100K bonus four years ago, but before that, the Diamondbacks believed they were on the verge of adding him for $80K. Junior Noboa, the Diamondbacks’ vice president of Latin American operations, revealed to Piecoro that the two sides reached an agreement in the Dominican Republic. However, rules state a player must officially sign in his home country, and by the time Acuna returned to Venezuela, the Braves had made a stronger offer, according to Noboa. “They accepted it before I could come back with another offer,” Noboa said of Acuna’s camp. Acuna disagrees with Noboa’s version of the story, as he said through an interpreter Thursday: “There was a difference between what was promised and what was eventually settled upon. They gave me an initial number and then afterwards that wasn’t it. That’s why I wasn’t on board with signing.” Regardless, as Piecoro notes, Acuna was not a superstar prospect when he chose Atlanta over Arizona. Thus, whether he’d have developed into the player he is now had he signed with a different team is anyone’s guess.
- The Giants would be wise to re-sign upcoming free agents Nick Hundley and Derek Holland, opines The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly, who writes that re-upping the former “figures to be a top priority” (subscription required). Hundley’s approaching the end of his second season in San Francisco, where he has backed up star catcher Buster Posey. It’s no surprise the Giants are prioritizing the position, though, considering Posey underwent season-ending hip surgery last month and could miss the start of next year. Offensively, the 35-year-old Hundley has made a case for a new deal by hitting a passable .235/.294/.407 (90 wRC+) in 245 PAs. On the other hand, Baseball Prospectus has Hundley ranked among the majors’ worst defensive backstops this season. Holland, a minor league signing last winter, has been a major bargain for the Giants. After his career went into a tailspin with the Rangers and White Sox from 2015-17, the soon-to-be 32-year-old has bounced back to log a 3.54 ERA/3.87 FIP with 8.96 K/9 and 3.54 BB/9 in 152 2/3 innings (31 appearances, 27 starts).