At 37-29, the Los Angeles Angels sit in third place in the AL West. They're 4 1/2 games back of both the division lead and the second wild-card spot, and SportsLine puts their postseason odds at 19.2 percent. Those odds are sixth best among the 15 AL teams.
The Angels have made the postseason just once since 2009, and that was a wholly unsatisfying three-game sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 ALDS. Those are the team's only three postseason games in the Mike Trout era. The Angels have rarely been terrible since 2009, but they haven't been good enough to truly contend either.
"He has never said that (he won't re-sign if we don't make the postseason)," Eppler said.
Trout can be a free agent after the 2020 season. Would he consider signing before then if the Angels do not make the playoffs, this year or next?
"I don't know the answer," Trout said. "I want to get to the playoffs. That's my mindset. I can't predict the future. So I just take it one game at a time now and see what happens."
A diplomatic answer, that is. Trout is two-and-a-half seasons away from free agency and that is an eternity in baseball years. There's no need for him to lock himself into anything at this point. It does him no good and it does the team no good either. Trout (and his agent) is smart. When the time comes, he'll consider all his options, including staying with the Angels.
Trout, who turns 27 in August and might just now be reaching the prime of his career, is hitting .299/.431/.632 (192 OPS+) with 19 home runs and 39 RBI in 66 games. He's also 13 for 13 in stolen base attempts. At +5.4 WAR, Trout leads baseball in wins above replacement and by a considerable margin too. Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez is second at +4.4 WAR.
Who Mike Trout (59.6) passed in career WAR this week: future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki, Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, Hall of Famer Yogi Berra— James Smyth (@JamesSmyth621) June 11, 2018
The Angels recently lost both Shohei Ohtani (elbow) and Andrelton Simmons (ankle) to the disabled list -- -- and those two are the team's two best non-Trout players. Getting to the postseason will be tough even with Trout having a potentially historic season. Doing it without Ohtani and Simmons for some length of time will be that much more difficult.