Joe Maddon doesn’t expect Mike Trout, Angels players to opt out of playing

According to Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon, it doesn’t appear that any Angels players, Mike Trout included, are expected to sit out of the 2020 MLB season.

For those of you that were worried that Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout would choose to sit out of the 2020 season, you can all relax a little. Baseball’s best player is expected to be ready to go when players report to Spring Training 2.0 on July 1st.

With his wife expecting their first child in August, there was some speculation that Trout could potentially choose to opt-out of the 2020 season. However, Angels manager put at least some of those concerns when he updated the media on Wednesday (as relayed by Rhett Bolinger of MLB.com).

“I have not heard anything, and I would imagine if that were the case, you’d hear about it in the near future,” Maddon said.

That would seem to hold true to what the player himself has stated, even if his communications during the pandemic have been limited. Trout was one of a number of players that took to social media during the ongoing negotiations with the league, sharing the common message, “Tell us when and where.” That alone would seem to indicate his intention to play in 2020, despite the health concerns, but with players expected to report in a week and no word otherwise out of Trout’s camp, one would expect him to be ready to go.

Of course, Mike Trout has plenty of incentive to get on the field as well. He enters the 2020 season as the game’s highest-paid player, with a salary of $37.667 million before proration. There is also the possibility that if he opted out, he would not receive any pay for 2020 (at least in terms of straight salary) and the Angels would retain an extra year of contractual control. Trout is also the defending American League MVP after hitting .291/.438/.645 with 45 home runs, 104 RBI, and putting up an 8.6 fWAR season.

That doesn’t mean the Angels won’t still lose Trout at some point in the season. With the baby due in August, Trout will be entitled to take paternity leave from the club. Under the MLB policy, he would need to miss at least one game but can be away from the club for as many as three games. That absence is more than fair and to be expected. The Angels will simply have to make due during that time and wish nothing but the best of health for Baby Trout and mother.

As also relayed by Maddon, no other Angels players are currently expected to sit out either. Players can still choose to opt-out leading up to July 1st, but will not be paid or gain service time unless they have underlying health issues that put them at risk should they contract Coronavirus.

“None of the players have spoken to me about that, and Billy hasn’t told me about any players who are even considering that right now. But if it doesn’t happen, we’d understand. The individual needs to be considered right now.”

Like Trout, the loss of any other Angels players will be a blow to a team that has an outside shot at the postseason. However, the health and well-being of the players, their families, and other team personnel need to be of the utmost importance.