Mike Trout played 40 games in the majors last season, but with the Angels’ first base/corner outfield/designated hitter logjam already causing them to shop Bobby Abreu and move Mark Trumbo to third base there was no room for him in the lineup.
Today the team made official what has been expected all spring, optioning Trout to Triple-A.
Trout is universally regarded as one of the top three prospects in baseball along with Bryce Harper and Matt Moore, but while he’s probably one of the Angels’ nine best players already he’s also just 20 years old with zero experience at Triple-A and has been hurt/sick for much of camp.
Letting him knock around Pacific Coast League pitching for six weeks while the Angels sort out their roster isn’t the worst idea even if you think Trout is ready to thrive in the majors at 20. He’ll be called up for good soon enough and when that happens they’ll want to play him every day without worrying about playing time for the logjam of veteran bats.
Last season at Double-A he hit .326 with 11 homers, 33 steals, and a .958 OPS in 91 games, but Trout hit just .220 with five homers, four steals, and a .672 OPS in 40 games for the Angels.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.