Trout hopes upcoming Angels’ season can match his offseason
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Mike Trout is hoping his 2018 season can match a tremendous offseason: He got married, watched his beloved Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl and participated in the Angels’ successful recruitment of Japanese pitcher-hitter Shohei Ohtani.
Trout, who took part Monday in the team’s first full-squad workout, said he tried to persuade Ohtani that the Angels were a good organization to play for “and just told him that we wanted him.”
“You obviously want to make a good case to get him to come here. Obviously, it worked,” he said. “Talking to him and talking to his interpreter, I knew there was a shot. We wanted him. We got him.”
Trout found out the Angels landed Ohtani at the rehearsal dinner for his wedding in December to Jessica Tara Cox.
“I called some buddies, called some of my teammates,” said Trout, who praised Angels general manager Billy Eppler for putting in years of work to sign Ohtani. “We were all happy.”
Trout, who grew up in New Jersey as an Eagles fan, said that when he realized he could get tickets to the Super Bowl, he figured, “They have a good chance of winning,” so he told his wife, “We should probably be a part of it.”
“I was fortunate enough to get a few extra tickets and make it happen,” he said.
But as for the highlight of the winter, “Obviously getting married.”
On the field, Trout will lead a team with higher expectations than in the past couple of seasons thanks to the signings of Ohtani, infielders Ian Kinsler and Zack Cozart and the return to health of several pitchers. The Angels went 80-82 last year and haven’t won a postseason game since 2009.
“People are going to think the expectations are higher, for sure,” the two-time AL MVP said. ”“We’re trying to get to the playoffs and make a push. We have one goal: to try to win a championship. We’re really excited to get this thing going.”
Asked if the Angels’ long-term prospects have an impact on how much he much he wants to remain the team, the 26-year-old outfielder replied, “For sure.” Trout said Eppler, owner Arte Moreno and manager Mike Scioscia “are doing a good job to bring guys in and putting a great team out there.”
Trout’s contract runs through 2020, after which he could become a free agent. At that point, he could well become the highest-paid player in history.
“It’s obviously cool,” Trout said of such prospects. “But I go out there and play. I don’t think about that any of stuff. We brought in a bunch of new guys and we’re trying to compete for a championship.”
“I’m out here just to play baseball. The other things will take care of themselves later,” he said.
NOTES: Newly signed Chris Young has the inside track to be the Angels’ fourth outfielder. Young, 34, appeared in 90 games last season for Boston, hitting .235 with seven homers and 25 RBIs. “Chris obviously has a veteran’s presence, but he’s still athletic like he was in his younger days,” Scioscia said. “He matches up really well against left-handed pitching. He can play all three outfield positions.” Young, an All Star with Arizona in 2010, has a career average of .237 with 185 home runs. “This is an opportunity to be on a winning ballclub. That’s what I was looking for,” he said. ... Joe Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer, met with Scioscia on Monday to discuss pace-of-play issues.