Every losing season the Angels have endured in the last 10 years, Mike Trout usually gets asked some iteration of whether he still wants to stay in Anaheim. He also typically is asked how he can continue to remain optimistic season after season when his Angels aren’t in the playoffs.
During his end-of-the-season media availability before Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Oakland, he cut short a question about the no-trade clause in his contract. “I haven’t even thought about any of that stuff,” he said.
And of that optimism, he said, “I hate losing. … I think for me, in this game, as a personal standpoint, you’re gonna fail a lot. At the plate you make mistakes, but the biggest thing is you try to turn the page and that’s what I’m trying to do after the season.
“It’s been frustrating,” he said. “It’s not where we want to be. But talking with guys to try to change this thing, we’re doing everything we can to give it all we have.”
The Angels have made the playoffs one time and finished above .500 four times in the 12 seasons Trout has been in Anaheim. He signed a 12-year, $426.5-million contract in 2019 to remain an Angel until 2031.
Asked what he thinks needs to be done for the Angels to get to the playoffs, he said: “I don’t think it’s one specific thing. [General manager Perry Minasian] has a game plan and I trust Perry and the front office to bring a winning team in here.”
And asked if he has any time frame for the Angels to put together a team that can get to meaningful October baseball, he said, “It’s tough because with the owners saying ‘We’re selling the team,’ who knows what kind of spot [Perry’s] in. It’s gonna be interesting to see what’s gonna happen over the winter.”
Trout missed 30 games, plus the All-Star Game, this season while nursing a back injury. He had two hits in his first four at-bats Tuesday against Oakland to raise his batting average to .280.
The game went to the 10th inning tied 1-1, thanks to Matt Duffy’s tying single in the ninth, but the Athletics won on a bases-loaded walk by Shea Langeliers.
Though he missed about a month on the injured list, Trout returned without skipping a beat, hitting 15 home runs and 28 RBIs in the 38 games since.
He had 39 home runs entering the game, making it the first time since he won his last American League most valuable player award in 2019 that he hit more than 30 home runs in a season.
Trout said Sunday after he hit home run No. 39, that he does not like to think about what those numbers could have been without the back injury.
Asked to evaluate his season as a whole Tuesday, he said, “I was having a good year and then the back thing popped up. Once the back thing popped up, I was trying to get back as fast as I could. And once I was able to do that, it was just finish strong. Looking back at the year, it’s been a crazy year for the whole team. Myself included.”
Trout will have a normal offseason, continuing to keep his same pregame, pre-workout routine that’s helped keep his back feeling good. He also will captain Team USA’s World Baseball Classic squad in March.
The experience will give him another chance — besides all the AL All-Star rosters he’s been on — to play with bonafide stars.
“It’s gonna be a fun battle. Obviously we gotta get there, see how it all goes,” Trout said.
“It’s gonna be fun. It’s a chance for me to play with other guys, sometimes face your teammates.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.