March 25, 2019 / 5:47 AM / 6 months ago

Trout emotional talking about long-term deal with Angels

Angels superstar outfielder Mike Trout might call the East Coast his home, but he left no doubt where his baseball home is: Anaheim.

Mar 24, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) follows through on a double in the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With a handful of players signing record or near-record contracts this offseason, attention turned to Trout, the two-time Most Valuable Player, who could have become a free agent after the 2020 season. Instead, he signed a 12-year, $426.5 million contract extension this week.

“That was one thing on my mind, talking to people — if I did leave in two years, maybe looking back I would’ve probably regretted it a little bit, because I love it here,” Trout, a six-time All-Star, told a few thousand fans who arrived early for the Angels’ home exhibition game with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.

He was emotional at times in making comments publicly for the first time since signing the extension this week.

With his possible free agency still two seasons away, Trout was nonetheless the subject of speculation. Bryce Harper, who just signed his own megadeal with the Phillies, made no attempt to hide his desire to lure Trout to Philadelphia, where Trout — a noted Philadelphia Eagles fan — would be close to his New Jersey home.

On Sunday, Trout made it clear he had always intended to stay put. Talks between the team and agent Craig Landis began in late February.

“Spending your whole career with one team I think is pretty cool,” Trout said.

Among those also on the dais at the news conference were Landis and Angels owner Arte Moreno, who acknowledged that the next goal is to build a championship team around Trout.

Trout has been in the top two in AL MVP voting in six of his seven full seasons with the Angels — he was fourth in 2017 — but the team has reached the playoffs just once, getting swept in the divisional round in 2014.

Moreno on Sunday commented to Trout how he “needs some jewelry,” referring to World Series championship rings.

Trout said he envisions success with how general manager Billy Eppler, who was also on the dais, and the front office are focused simultaneously on building a winning team while beefing up the farm system for the future.

“There’s going to be some ups and downs in the 12 years, but the direction was huge for me,” Trout said. “I’m happy and excited for the direction they’re going.”

Over his 7 1/2 seasons in the majors, Trout is a .307 hitter with 240 home runs and 648 RBIs. His wins above replacement (WAR) total of 64.2 is the highest ever for a player at his experience level.

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