2020 Angels Season Obstacles: Will Mike Trout Play?
Let’s pretend for a minute that the Angels’ pitching staff stays healthy and productive throughout the season, there is at least one other piece that could completely torpedo the team’s playoff chances.
What if Mike Trout opts not to play?
As we all know by now, Trout’s wife is due to give birth to the couple’s first child soon. As such, the league’s best player is reportedly being cautious about his exposure to the coronavirus and that has led to speculation that he may choose to opt-out of the season. As Trout wants to be there for the birth, contracting the virus would not only cost him that opportunity, but also lead to potential health things for his wife and child.
While the Angels, and maybe even the fans, would be understandable if Trout chose to go that path, it would nonetheless take its toll on the team’s goals in 2020. Replacing one starting bat in the lineup is tough enough. Replacing a player that has led the league in fWAR (73.4), wRC+ (172), and wOBA (.419) since 2010 will be impossible.
For their part, the Angels did add some protection for that possibility, albeit unknowingly, when they signed Anthony Rendon to a seven-year, $245 million deal. Since his debut in 2013, Rendon ranks 8th in fWAR (32.7 vs Trout’s 62.6), 34th in wRC+ (128 vs Trout’s 176), and 29th in wOBA (.366 vs Trout’s .424). While Rendon will make a huge addition to the Angels, he obviously won’t replace Trout’s production in the case of the latter’s opt-out.
Needless to say, the Angels are going to be watching this situation closely and will do their best to adapt as Trout’s decision becomes more concrete.