Mike Trout is to baseball what LeBron James is to basketball. Both are undeniably the best in the game right now, and have arguments to be their sports’ respective GOAT. Now, does Mike Trout deserve the same treatment The King gets?
Without Mike Trout, the LA Angels are nothing. In past years, their roster would be amongst the worst in the league without Mike Trout. Through the first years of his career, Trout was the best player on the worst team. He has never been able to perform on the game’s biggest stage, apart from a three-game sweep against the Royals in 2014.
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At the beginning of his career, LeBron James was the only thing the Cleveland Cavaliers had going for them. He was one of the game’s brightest stars from his rookie year on, but like Trout, his team held him back from playing in the NBA Finals until 2007, when they were swiftly swept by the San Antonio Spurs.
See where I’m going with this?
LeBron left Cleveland roughly three years later for Miami. He joined a super team with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, and went on to win two NBA Finals and has been in eight straight.
Mike Trout has two years left on his contract. The Halos want to work on an extension this offseason, but with so little to show for his first seven years in terms of team results, why would he sign up for ten more? This is where I believe the Angels must start giving Trout the “LeBron” treatment.
When LeBron was in Miami, and then during his second stint in Cleveland, he got what he wanted. In the summer when he returned to Cleveland, the Heat drafted a player they knew LeBron loved as a last-ditch effort to persuade him to resign. Once he returned to Cleveland, he wanted proven veterans on his team which led to the team trading for Kevin Love, sending two former No. 1 picks and future one as well to the Timberwolves. After he left, the team had no sense of direction.
This is what the Angels need to do. While the LeBron treatment left both the Cavs and Heat is purgatory once he left, the Angels will be there if Trout ditches Anaheim anyway. The first way they could have used this treatment would have been in their choice for manager. Sure, Brad Ausmus may be the perfect choice, but was Trout on board with it?
The argument against this is one player can affect a basketball team far more than one can affect a baseball team. However, Trout’s greatness is enough to involve him in discussions about trades and free agent signings. Trout wants to play with Andrelton Simmons? Sign him to an extension. Wants to trade for JT Realmuto? Ship a couple of prospects to Miami.
Trout has shown no indications that he is leaving. However, he has not shown any he is staying. If they want to convince him to stay, winning is the first step. Giving him exactly what he wants is the second step, and possible clincher.