With the regular season approaching its end, the Los Angeles Angels have sights set on the future, which also includes the rabid speculation of what the front office has in mind.
They were unsuccessful in their years with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, failing to reach the postseason with the best duo the game might ever see. But with Ohtani entering free agency, the questions on if they’ll keep Trout in an Angels uniform are also on the table.
But with Trout under contract, he still figures to be with the team, however, his influence within the organization is also believed to be strong. That sentiment is shared by former Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, who believes the star center fielder has standing as a two-time MVP, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
“I know a lot of people want him to move and not be there and suffer. But at the same time, he has a voice to kind of say, ‘Hey, let’s change this up a little bit,’ and give his opinion. I’m pretty sure he’s doing that,” Hunter said. “He’s not a guy out there publicly who wants everyone to know his business. He actually does a lot of things very subtle, quietly.”
Hunter spent five seasons with the Angels, his last being in 2012, made the playoffs twice with the team in 2008 and 2009. The failures up and down the franchise line have to be vast in order to miss the postseason for so many years, and with Trout have played in just one playoff series, there’s been no big stage.
The Angels have much to figure out in the coming months, because if Ohtani signs elsewhere, the backbone of the team shifts towards a much longer view.
Mike Trout halting return to Angels lineup was best for present & future
Appearing in just 82 games this season, Trout was solid, but his multiple injured list stints put stops on finding solid rhythm.
The return from a fracture hamate bone wasn’t as hasty as the team had hoped, but there’s no reason to push him with their slot in the standings. Trout hasn’t played an entire slate of games, or even 140 since the 2016 season, but for him, he’s eyeing a self-motivated push to erase that low-bar.
But looking into the offseason and beyond, figuring out how Trout plays into that future will be a key component in their plans.
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