Mike Trout has Ron Washington's permission to push free agents to sign with LA Angels

Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout has support from his manager Ron Washington about encouraging players to come and play with him in Anaheim.
Los Angeles Angels v Houston Astros
Los Angeles Angels v Houston Astros / Bob Levey/GettyImages

Throughout his 13-year MLB career, Los Angeles Angels superstar center fielder Mike Trout has often been regarded as one of the quieter players in baseball. However, the three-time American League MVP might be changing that as his career approaches its conclusion, and has spoken up this winter about the Angels' recent approach to free agency.

Per Sam Blum of The Athletic, Trout recently spoke to the media after arriving to Angels camp yesterday and stated that he has heard interest from current MLB free agents about coming to Anaheim to play for the Angels. However, the decision to make the move and sign them remains up to Angels owner Arte Moreno.

"This offseason, I was in contact with both of them (Arte and Carpino), just pushing, pushing, pushing. There’s still some guys out there that can make this team a lot better. With the guys we’ve got out here now, it’s first day of spring. With the additions that Perry’s brought to this bullpen - I’ve always said playing good defense and having a good bullpen wins. You can look at that in the past.”"

Per Sam Blum of The Athletic

LA Angels' star Mike Trout wants Arte Moreno to deliver him free agents

Trout did go on to acknowledge Moreno's approach in free agency in recent years, as he stated he came across a graph that had them 11th in free agency spending. Truth be told, he's not wrong, as the Angels have gone out in years past and signed big-name free agents like Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, C.J. Wilson and current Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon, who was inked to a seven-year deal worth up to $245 million. Depending on your viewpoint, some of those deals have often been considered as horrible signings over the years.

Following Trout's comments about the Angels' recent offseason approach, Blum went on to ask new manager Ron Washington his thoughts on whether any current free agents could help this organization become a better ballclub in 2024. Washington kept it simple and told Trout to "keep going".

"“He’s talked to me about it, and he’s talked to the man about it that can make a difference. And now it’s up to someone else to make the call.”"

Per Sam Blum of The Athletic

Arte Moreno's recent comments on LA Angels free agency

As the Angels spent most of this offseason rebuilding a bullpen that was one of the best in the early part of the season last year, prior to its decimation by injuries, owner Arte Moreno recently laid out his plan for the future, as he has zero intentions to sell the organization.

Moreno stated that he is in it for the long haul with the Angels. As for the future of the organization, he stated that talks to renovate Angel Stadium are currently at a halt, as he beleives the city of Anaheim does not have an appetite for such chatter. He did say that the Angels' spring training complex in Tempe, AZ will commence renovations at the conclusion of this year's spring training. As for the future of the roster, Moreno went on to say the plan moving forward is to lower the budget of the Angels.

Over the last 10 years, the Angels have either been in the top 10 highest payrolls in baseball, or just outside the threshold. During that time, the Angels have only made the playoffs once, back in 2014, which was also the only time Trout has been in the postseason throughout his career.

While fans might not want to hear that the Angels will decrease the budget of the team, in the long term, this actually might be in the best interest for the organization. This high-spending recipe has not proven successful for them. Another reason the Angels might not be as aggressive in the market right now is that there might not be an interest in a long-term deal with both top free agent fits, Blake Snell and Cody Bellinger, who are seeking deals that will pay both of them above $30 million annually. Signing either player could continue to keep the Angels in this cycle of bad contracts.

While Snell is the reigning NL Cy Young winner, and Bellinger is a former 2019 NL MVP, the reality is both will likely seek long-term deals over five years and an AAV of $30 million with the club, which could put the Angels out of position from signing any other future free agents. They would nearly double their payroll by acquiring both players, while still having to pay the contracts of Trout and Rendon, who both make over $35 million annually.

The Mike Trout effect

Now, as Trout mentioned, he has talked to some players about playing for the Angels and they have expressed their interest. Which players has he talked to exactly? That remains unknown.

With Trout doing his own type of recruiting during free agency, I would like to think he has had at least one conversation with Snell and Bellinger about the possibility of playing for the Angels.

As Trout has been loyal throughout the course of his career to the Angels, it seems like Moreno almost owes him one, considering one of the game's greatest players has only seen the playoffs once in his career under ownership's watch.

If Trout has gotten players to express their interest in playing for the Angels, perhaps he might be able to become the messenger between Moreno and said free agent. Perhaps he could help broker a deal that would not only not burn the Angels in the long run, but would also be an offer said free agent couldn't refuse.

Given Moreno's recent comments about the payroll and what Trout said yesterday about the current state of the roster, Trout will have to keep Washington's words in his mind and keep going.