TEMPE, Ariz. — Mike Trout didn’t offer any glimpse Monday on whether he wants to stay with the Los Angeles Angels when his contract expires in two years, or even if he is having negotiations about a contract extension, but did let the unemployed free agent class know that Philadelphia is a wonderful place to play.
“I don’t think I went a day this offseason without someone saying, “When are you coming to Philly?’” said Trout, who’s from nearby Millville, N.J.
“I can’t predict the future. I don’t know.”
Trout, the two-time American League MVP (and four-time runner-up) is widely regarded as baseball’s best player, and says he’s genuinely excited about the Angels’ upcoming season, but refused to say how long he plans to stay.
The Angels haven’t been to the postseason since 2014 and haven’t won a playoff game since 2009. The Angels would love to have the 27-year-old around by the time they end their drought, but Trout didn’t drop any hints about his future.
“I don’t want to comment on that”’ Trout said. “I enjoy playing here. I’m having fun. Obviously, losing is not fun, but I enjoy playing this game.”
Trout has two years and $66.5 million remaining on his contract, and Angels owner Arte Moreno said that the club has had internal discussions about retaining him. The Angels are surely be keeping a close eye on what Bryce Harper and Manny Machado receive in a sluggish market that has annoyed Trout.
“Everybody sees it,” Trout said, “it’s obviously not good for baseball. You got two of the top guys that are not signed yet. Teams say they want to rebuild, why not start with the top guys. There’s obviously Manny, Bryce. Look at the pitchers out there. It’s pretty incredible.
“It’s disappointing for the players. It’s good they’re standing up for themselves, like Manny and Bryce. … It’s not good for baseball with these guys not signing. Hopefully they sign in a few weeks.”
While Harper and Machado have seemingly shown a reluctance to play in Philadelphia, Trout believes they would love it once they’re wearing a Phillies uniform.
“I’m an Eagles fan, I know how we are,” Trout said. “When you’re going good, you love them. Fans appreciate hustle all of the time, like 100 percent effort. Even if you’re’ struggling, if you go and show them that you’re giving 100 percent, they see that and respect that.
“But fans are passionate about their sport there, whether it’s basketball or football, baseball especially.”
So, is Harper, who has been in deep contract talks with the Phillies, coming to Philadelphia?
“I can’t tell you how many times I heard people asking, ‘Is Harper coming here?’” Trout said, laughing. “I don’t know. I don’t know their situation. They’ve got to do what’s best for them and their family.”
All Trout knows is that he’s under contract with the Angels for the next two years, loves playing in Orange County and appreciates the moves Angels GM Billy Eppler made this winter.
Trout hasn’t lost his sense of humor either, jumping out of a closet Monday morning to frighten an Angels staffer, while teasing infielder Zack Cozart about the Dallas Cowboys.
“Every year since Billy’s been here, he’s been bringing in guys that improve the team,” Trout said. “That’s all you can ask for. Obviously, we weren’t where we wanted to be the last few years, but it’s like a puzzle, trying to bring in guys that fit this team. We’ve brought a bunch of veteran guys in, and we’ll see where it goes.
“I come here, and I can only do what I can do.”
Follow Bob Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale