Mike Trout has hit .441 with two homers, three steals, six walks, nine RBIs, and eight runs in nine games against Texas this season, but Rangers manager Ron Washington isn’t quite ready to induct him into Cooperstown yet:
He’s not Willie Mays. He’s a pretty good player, but I think the comparisons have to stop. Let the kid play. When he’s been here five years, six years, then you can start doing that.
I’m sure Angels fans will take offense to that, but Washington makes a relatively reasonable point about hype and hot starts and letting a career breath a little bit.
On the other hand, when you’re a 20-year-old rookie and people feel the need to say things like “he’s not Willie Mays” … well, you’re doing some amazing things. Plus, it’s worth noting that Willie Mays wasn’t even WILLIE MAYS yet as a 20-year-old rookie, when he hit .274 with 20 homers, seven steals, and an .828 OPS in 121 games for the Giants in 1951.
Trout is hitting .357 with 15 homers, 31 steals, and a 1.016 OPS in 74 games. Right now Trout is the best player in the American League and arguably the best player in all of baseball, and in only 16 more days he’ll be able to legally drink alcohol.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.