Mike Trout just concluded yet another MVP-caliber season, yet team success has continued to elude the superstar. Trout has only been part of one playoff team (in 2014) and has yet to win even a single postseason game after eight seasons. With Trout only signed for another two years, the Angels may need to turn things around quick to have a better chance at extending or re-signing him, and Trout indeed told Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register that playing for a contender is a “huge” factor in deciding his future plans. “I want to come to the ballpark playing for something. That’s everybody’s goal here as a player. You don’t want to come playing for nothing,” Trout said. This being said, he still holds the Angels organization in high regard: “My years here we haven’t been winning, but they’ve been taking care of me. I enjoy coming to the ballpark. It (stinks) when it’s September and you’re out of it. But when I was a kid they took a chance on me. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve got a couple more years and we’ll go from there.” Trout also laughed off the idea of the Angels trading him over the next two years, per Fletcher, saying he “for sure” expects to remain with the franchise through at least 2020. In hopes of keeping Trout beyond then, the Halos are expected to discuss an extension with him during the offseason, Fletcher writes.
Elsewhere around the majors’ West divisions…
- There is a chance the left side of the Rangers’ infield will consist of two new starters next season, as third baseman Adrian Beltre could retire and shortstop Elvis Andrus has an opt-out in his contract. In the latest update regarding the two close friends, Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram tweets that Beltre is “genuinely torn” on whether to come back in 2019. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News believes Beltre will walk away, and he explains why in a piece which pays respect to the future Hall of Famer. Andrus, meanwhile, is still planning to stay with his current contract, as was the case a few weeks ago, according to Wilson. Vacating the remainder of the deal would mean leaving a four-year, $58MM guarantee on the table, which may be too risky in the wake of a down season for Andrus.
- The Giants are open minded with what to do with ace Madison Bumgarner as they seek a new baseball operations leader, CEO Larry Baer suggested Sunday. The team “does not plan to dictate a timetable for contention or major decisions such as trading or keeping” Bumgarner, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Instead, the Giants will listen to the candidates’ opinions on the best course of action in regards to Bumgarner, who’s only under control for another year. As for longtime battery mate Buster Posey, the soon-to-be 32-year-old will remain behind the plate when he returns from hip surgery next season – perhaps as early as Opening Day, per Schulman. “There’s been no discussion about him playing any other position,” executive vice president Brian Sabean said. “He’s our franchise player and he wants to catch.”
- More on the Giants, who plan to go into next season with Steven Duggar as their Opening Day center fielder, Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic tweets. The 24-year-old got his first taste of major league action this season and hit a below-average .255/.303/.390 (87 wRC+) in 152 plate appearances, though he did account for four Defensive Runs Saved and a 1.4 Ultimate Zone Rating in 345 innings as a center fielder. Baseball America (subscription required) ranks Duggar as the Giants’ sixth-best prospect.