April 24th, 2024

Trout says he wants to stay with Angels. Rendon discusses where baseball ranks on his priority list

By Steve Megargee, The Associated Press on February 20, 2024.

Mike Trout discussed his future and Anthony Rendon talked about his priorities as the Los Angeles Angels stars spoke Monday when position players started workouts at spring training camps across Arizona and Florida.

Trout, a three-time MVP and 11-time All-Star who has played in only one postseason series, said he has no interest in requesting a trade as the Angels retool following two-time MVP Shohei Ohtani’s move to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 32-year-old Trout has spent his entire 13-year career with the Angels and signed a $426.5 million, 12-year contract in 2019. The Angels went 73-89 last year for their eighth consecutive losing season. They haven’t reached the playoffs since 2014, when they were swept by Kansas City in the Division Series.

“I think the easy way out is to ask for a trade,” Trout told reporters, including The Athletic. “There might be a time, maybe. I really haven’t thought about this. When I signed that contract, I’m loyal. I want to win a championship here. The overall picture of winning a championship or getting to the playoffs here is the bigger satisfaction than bailing out or taking the easy way out. I think that’s been my mindset. Maybe down the road, if some things change.”

Trout says he continued to lobby owner Arte Moreno and upper management for free-agent additions that can boost the Angels following the departure of Ohtani, who signed a $700 million, 10-year deal with the Dodgers.

“I’m going to keep pushing as long as I can,” Trout said. “Until the season starts or until those guys sign. It’s just in my nature.”

One big free-agent move the Angels did make in recent years was the signing of Rendon to a $245 million, seven-year deal in December 2019 as he was coming off a World Series title with Washington. Rendon, a two-time Silver Slugger winner in seven seasons with the Nationals, hasn’t played more than 58 games in any of his four years with the Angels because of injuries.

Rendon spoke Monday about how his enthusiasm for the game has remained the same throughout his career, but he also noted that baseball has “never been a top priority for me.”

“This is a job,” Rendon told reporters. “I do this to make a living. My faith, my family come first before this job.”

Rendon noted that getting married and having four kids has changed his perspective. But he also emphasized that baseball remains a priority, even if it isn’t his top priority.

“Oh, it’s a priority for sure,” Rendon said. “Because it’s my job. I’m here, aren’t I?”

OHTANI TAKES LIVE BP

Ohtani took live batting practice for the first time this spring training as he returns from elbow surgery. The Dodgers posted video Monday of Ohtani homering.

The two-way player won’t be pitching this season after surgery on his right elbow last September, but he’s hoping to be ready for the season opener as a hitter.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Sunday that Ohtani won’t play in the Dodgers’ Cactus League opener Thursday against San Diego.

MERRIFIELD SIGNS

Philadelphia finalized its signing of three-time All-Star utilityman Whit Merrifield to an $8 million, one-year contract that includes a $7 million salary this year and an $8 million club option for 2025 with a $1 million buyout.

Merrifield, 35, batted .272 with 11 homers, 67 RBIs and 26 steals for the Toronto Blue Jays last season.

CONFIDENT YELICH

Christian Yelich remains confident Milwaukee can continue to contend even without departed ace Corbin Burnes and manager Craig Counsell.

After the Brewers won their third NL Central title in six years, Counsell left to manage the rival Chicago Cubs. The Brewers traded Burnes to Baltimore in a deal that brought them infielder Joey Ortiz and left-hander DL Hall.

Yelich, the 2018 NL MVP, is among veterans on a team relying heavily on younger players.

“I think that we have a chance to really surprise some people with the talent in this room,” Yelich told reporters. “We usually always find a way to be competitive, be there at the end and give ourselves a chance.”

METS SIGN VOIT

The New York Mets signed first baseman Luke Voit to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to major league camp.

Voit, 33, batted .221 with a .284 on-base percentage, no homers and four RBIs in 22 games with the Brewers last season after hitting 22 homers with the Padres and Nationals in 2022.

He has a .807 career OPS and hit an AL-leading 22 homers for the New York Yankees during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

CUBS’ RICKETTS DISCUSSES BELLINGER

Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts talked about contract talks with free agent outfielder Cody Bellinger.

“There has been some discussions, but it just hasn’t become a negotiation yet,” Ricketts told reporters. “Until they’re ready to really negotiate, there’s not much we can do.”

Bellinger, the 2019 NL MVP with the Dodgers, had a bounce-back season for the Cubs last year. Bellinger hit .307 with a .356 on-base percentage, 26 homers, 97 RBIs and 20 steals in 130 games.

He then declined his end of a $25 million mutual option.

ORIOLES ACQUIRE ORT FROM PHILLIES

The Baltimore Orioles acquired right-handed pitcher Kaleb Ort from the Phillies for cash.

Ort, 32, went 1-2 with a 6.26 ERA for the Boston Red Sox last season while making 21 appearances, including two starts. He struck out 24 and walked nine in 23 innings.

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AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston contributed to this report.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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