As Mike Trout approaches the end of his contract he faces a choice. He can stay in Anaheim, where the weather is warm and be guaranteed a big pay day once a year for the rest of his playing days. Or he could look at the state of the Angels and the state of the AL West. Houston is currently defending their world series title and Oakland might beat out the Yankees for the top wild card spot. And the Angels? They are battling it out with the Rangers to avoid the cellar of their top-heavy division.
Everyone knows Trout is the best player in baseball, so by that logic Trout knows he is the best player in baseball. When you know you are the best player in baseball two things come to mind.
- I need to stay the best player in baseball for as long as I can.
- I want to be the greatest player of all time.
Unlike basketball, football or hockey, baseball’s GOAT is up to much debate. Some say it belongs to the Babe, others claim it’s Wille Mays and then there are those who point to Ted Williams, Honus Wagner and the plethora of other players who litter baseball’s hall of fame.
Trout is in a rare position where he can align baseball with the three other major North American sports and allow fans to point to one man as the greatest to ever grace the game. If Trout plays his cards right and continues to build his illustrious career, he could be baseball’s GOAT.
But he must leave the Angels to do so.
Among just pure dominance and greatness, the one thing that Tom Brady, Lebron James and Wayne Gretzky all have in common is winning. For Gretzky it is his four Stanley Cups. For Brady it is his five super bowls and streak of nine straight division titles. For Lebron it is his three rings and promise to the league over the last seven years that he would be playing in the NBA Finals.
If Trout wants to be the best he not only has to play at a great level, he must play at a great level against great competition while succeeding on the biggest stage for an extended period of time. As a Los Angeles Angel, that is not a possibility. Over the past seven years, the Angels have proved their inability to manage and build a successful sports organization. Trout should take note of this and realize there is no reason any of this will change.
Sure, Shohei Ohtani is going to be good, maybe even great. But he and Trout can’t win a championship by themselves. They need a bunch of home-grown talent, and a couple of key free agents to have a shot in this league.
Once Trout has the chance to walk out of that home clubhouse in Angel Stadium for a final time in September (and yes I mean September) of 2020 he should not look back. He should take his time, say his thank you’s and goodbye’s. But he should not reconsider signing with the Angels.
It would be a shame to see a potential GOAT never be mentioned in that conversation because his team could not support him with good, winning seasons. Trout needs to realize this and sign to a team with a future next winter.
His options are spread across the country whether that be in the Northeast with New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Or if he wants to try the south and be a Brave or an Astro. He could go to the heartland and play in Cleveland or Chicago. And he could stay in the west with Colorado or Seattle.
Any hey, if he really likes LA that much, just sign with the Dodgers.
But whatever you do Mike, please, don’t be an Angel.