Mike Trout is hitting .419 with a 1.132 OPS at Triple-A

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One player certainly isn’t going to solve all of the Angels’ problems in the midst of a 6-12 start, particularly with veterans calling out manager Mike Scioscia in the media, but it’s tough to ignore the fact that stud prospect Mike Trout is hitting .419 at Triple-A.

As a 20-year-old, no less.

Trout is 31-for-74 (.419) with 10 extra-base hits, 11 walks, and six steals in 19 games, which is good for a .483 on-base percentage, .649 slugging percentage, and 1.132 OPS.

Now, certainly 19 games doesn’t mean Trout is ready to annihilate big-league pitching and the Angels’ logjam of first basemen, corner outfielders, and designated hitters hasn’t gone away, but most of that logjam isn’t actually, you know, hitting and there’s little reason to think guys like Bobby Abreu and Vernon Wells are going to suddenly turn everything around.

So when will the Angels call up Trout? Based on what Scioscia told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, don’t hold your breath:

I don’t believe anything is imminent, but when you play at the level Mike is playing at now, you become more of a focal point of fans, the media and the organization. When a move is made depends on a lot of things. When you’re playing that well, you tend to push the door open for yourself, but right now he will continue to play [at Salt Lake] until something changes.

Sending a 20-year-old prospect to Triple-A to begin the season when he’d never played there before made plenty of sense, particularly considering the Angels’ veteran depth, but at some point you’d think Scioscia will grow tired of watching the old guys make outs. Or at least that’s what the Pacific Coast League pitchers are hoping.

Yadier Molina will not enter contract negotiations during the 2017 season

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is still open to extension talks during the last week of spring training. Once Opening Day rolls around, however, Molina has preemptively nixed any contract negotiations until the end of the 2017 season, when he’s scheduled to hit free agency.

Molina wants to stay with the Cardinals, or so he’s telling reporters, but he’s also “not afraid” to test the free agent market this fall should a deal fail to materialize. Via Goold:

I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.

The 34-year-old backstop is entering his final year under contract, though Goold points out that he has a $15 million option for 2018 that he can choose to decline in the event that it’s exercised by the team. He’s reportedly searching for a figure closer to those made by other top catchers like Buster Posey and Russell Martin.

The 2017 season will mark Molina’s 14th year in the Cardinals’ organization, building on a career that has spanned seven All-Star campaigns, nine postseason runs and two World Series championships in St. Louis. He batted .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and a .787 OPS for the club in 2016.

Colby Rasmus could start 2017 on the disabled list

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Colby Rasmus isn’t ready to take outfield reps just yet. According to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, that’s a red flag, one that could potentially postpone Rasmus’ debut as the club’s designated hitter and outfielder in 2017. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rasmus will need to prove he can play a defensive position before getting cleared for the active roster, something which the veteran outfielder has yet to do this spring.

Rasmus, 30, signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays following his two-year run with the Astros. He batted a meager .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and a .641 OPS in 2016 and was shut down in late September with an unspecified hip/groin issue. Entering the 2017 season, he’s expected to work his way back to a full-time role after undergoing surgery to repair his core muscle and left hip labrum last October.

The Rays also finalized their one-year, $1.2 million deal with catcher Derek Norris on Saturday and will need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. Topkin speculates that the move could send Rasmus to the 60-day disabled list, though the outfielder is not projected to miss more than a couple weeks of the regular season.