The Los Angeles Angels were mathematically knocked out of the post-season contention at Dodger Stadium on Friday night, meaning that in nine full seasons in the major leagues, Mike Trout – considered by many to be the game’s greatest player for most, if not all, those seasons – he only made the playoffs once.
“The most important thing is to get to the playoffs,” Trout said on Saturday, moments before the second game of a three-game streak against the Los Angeles Dodgers. “You all see it. I see it. It sucks to be. It’s time. We need to get to the playoffs.”
Trout reached the playoffs in 2014 when the Angels suffered a first-round sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals. The 2020 season will now mark the fifth consecutive time that his Angels will end with a losing record, although the off-season additions from manager Joe Maddon and third baseman Anthony Rendon have led many to believe the team could compete for a championship.
The Angels have lost 25 of their first 37 games, but have since won 14 of 21. The 60-game season did not provide enough time to catch up.
“It could be a different story if we played an entire season,” Trout said. “We only warmed up a little late and we couldn’t.”
The end result, a post-season absence even as Major League Baseball has expanded the field to 16 teams, could lead to the firing of general manager Billy Eppler, who is at the end of his fifth season with the team and has not been extended. beyond 2020.
Eppler had a starring role in recruiting Shohei Ohtani, which was a big reason Trout basically decided to spend his entire career with the Angels and took steps to rebuild the farm system, adding top-tier talent like Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh. But Eppler repeated himself constantly by addressing the pitching staff; the manager he appointed in 2019, Brad Ausmus, only lasted one season. Decorated executive Dave Dombrowski is said to be his successor in and out of baseball.
“Billy was a big reason why I signed up here again,” Trout said. “We’ve built a friendship over the years. He’s put together a lot of great teams, and it hasn’t worked out in the last few years. The relationship and friendship I’ve built with Billy – obviously goes beyond baseball now. I’ve had a couple of GMs. who came here; I never had the GM relationship that I had with him with anyone else. “
Trout, who became a father eight weeks ago, hit .281 / .390 / .603 with 17 home runs in 241 base appearances for Saturday’s game. The center-back ranked seventh among major league players in FanGraphs wins over replacement, and although he has continually called this season a “grind”, Trout will undoubtedly finish in the top five in the league’s most valuable player rankings. American for the ninth consecutive year. But next year he will turn 30 and is still chasing October.
“I don’t like losing,” Trout said. “I want to get to the playoffs. Whenever we go into the spring, our main goal is to get to the playoffs and bring a championship back to Anaheim. That’s just the mentality. When you’re this close and you come short, it’s sucks.”