The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that, as a way to find out exactly where the organization stands with superstar outfielder Mike Trout, the Angels plan to discuss a contract extension. Rosenthal doesn’t specify, but extension talks will almost certainly take place during the offseason, not during the final three weeks of the regular season.
Trout, 27, is under contract for two more years at $33.25 million annually. Given the recent news about Shohei Ohtani‘s elbow and the age of some of the other players like Albert Pujols, the Angels are at a crossroads of sorts. If Trout doesn’t want to sign an extension, the club could still make a strong attempt to compete for the next two seasons and hope he changes his mind about staying in Anaheim. Or the Angels could trade Trout to replenish the minor league system.
Trout is in the midst of what is arguably the greatest offensive season of his career. Entering Sunday’s action, he’s batting .314/.465/.623 with 33 home runs, 68 RBI, 92 runs scored, and 22 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. Trout has very clearly been the best player in baseball since he started playing regularly in 2012. It is quite rare that a team would broach the idea of trading the best player in the game, but the Angels could potentially experience a third consecutive sub-.500 season. If their outlook doesn’t improve significantly in a division that currently includes the defending World Series champion Astros, the upstart Athletics, and the talented Mariners, it may make sense for the Angels to look towards the future and explore trading Trout if he doesn’t want to sign an extension.
On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:
I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.
While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”
Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.
At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.