Despite owning Mike Trout – the best player in baseball – the Los Angeles Angels haven’t made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and, at 25-24, are seven games back of the Astros (31-16) in the AL West. Trout’s supporting isn’t great, and there’s a sense that the Angels are wasting the best years of his career.
C.J. Nitkowski disagrees.
“They’re not – because they are trying to win,” the MLB Network and MLB on FOX analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Whether or not they’ve been able to do it, they have been to the postseason since he’s been there, and they’re doing everything they possibly can. They have an owner (Arte Moreno) that will bump up right against the luxury-tax threshold, but he won’t go over it. He’s been very adamant about that, and they’re close. They have a high payroll. Now they haven’t put that level of consistent winner together, but no, I don’t think (Trout is) miserable (in Los Angeles).”
Trout is hitting .347 with a .466 OBP, 15 homers, 35 RBIs, 13 doubles, 34 runs, and nine steals this season. He’s been unreal. He’s also just 25.
“He is still a kid,” Nitkowski said. “Even though he’s in a man’s body and he’s doing unbelievable things historically, (he’s a kid). He has been first or second for the first five years of his career in the MVP race. That’s absurd. Yes, we see some guys come out and they’re really good, but you expect a dip at some point. You expect something to go in the negative direction. Bryce Harper, I think, is a really good example of that, right? He had a couple of pretty good years, then a monster year, then a crappy year, then a monster year he’s having right now. Mike Trout hasn’t done that. He’s been unbelievable since he was 21. He is a special talent.”
Nitkowski does not think Trout is unhappy in Los Angeles and wouldn’t be surprised to see him spend most, if not all, of his career there.
“You watch him,” Nitkowski said. “This guy has fun playing the game. I don’t think it’s a guy who’s miserable. He’s got friends on that team. You can see the guys that he’s tight with and has a good time with. If you’re miserable in Southern California, you’re going to be miserable anywhere. It’s a great place to play. If you can’t be happy in that part of the country and you got that kind of cash and you’re young, then you just are incapable of being happy. So I don’t think he is miserable at all. I think he wants to win there. I think he loves it there. He’s signed through 2020 and we’ll see if they readdress that when it’s all said and done because the money for him is going to be absurd – just like it’s going to be for Bryce Harper in a couple of years – and there’s only so many teams that can match up with a guy like that. But I believe he’s happy there. I wouldn’t buy into any of that he’s miserable and not having fun. Everybody wants to win, but I think he wants to do it there.”