3:15PM: Trout provided some clarification in a follow-up comment to Torres (Twitter link), saying that his original statement “didn’t mean” he would be holding off extension talks until next offseason.
11:17AM: On the heels of Bryce Harper’s deal with the Phillies, Angels superstar Mike Trout was asked today about his own contract situation. Though he’s still two years away from the open market, there has been no shortage of speculation about the possibility of the Halos pursuing another extension with the game’s greatest current player.
Trout’s comments may not have closed the door to talks, but they were anything but a positive sign for those who’d like to see a deal come together. When asked by Maria Torres of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link) whether he’d like to work on a new contract, Trout responded:
“With spring training you want to get ready for the season. You don’t wanna worry about anything else.”
There are several ways to take that sort of comment, to be sure. It’s oblique enough that it arguably shouldn’t be taken to signify much of anything. Then again, Trout has to this point been fastidiously non-committal regarding his future (or even the possibility of near-term talks). And the stakes are high, as this offseason provided a potential window for the Halos to secure the franchise’s greatest-ever player for the long run.
There’s no necessary rush for the Angels, who can explore talks next fall. Trout enjoys no-trade protection and there’s zero indication that the Angels have any interest in dealing him regardless. With Trout already slated to receive $33.25MM in each of the next two seasons and plenty already in the bank, he’s unlikely to grant much of a discount.
Still, the clock is ticking on Trout’s tenure with the club. If indeed talks aren’t to be held in earnest this spring, that leaves the 2019-20 offseason as perhaps the only remaining realistic extension window. Trout is said to be focused on playing for a winning team; the Halos have missed the postseason in each of the past four seasons and have an at-best-uncertain outlook for the coming campaign. Today’s comments probably don’t represent a major change in the situation, but they do serve to highlight what’s at stake in the near future for the Angels organization.