Something that many LA Angels fans have caught themselves saying over the past several years is some variation of: 'The Angels are wasting Mike Trout's career.'
Trout has been the best player in the game over the past ten years, and it isn't particularly close. We haven't made the postseason for him, however, in any of the last seven years. To make matters worse, even when he went down for the season last May, we had the next best player on the planet emerge and have the greatest season of all-time, and we still missed the postseason.
Therefore, people are also now entering Shohei Ohtani into the discussion of the Halos potentially ruining careers. LA Angels TV color commentator for Bally Sports West, Mark Gubicza, expressed to me that it's actually a false narrative:
"I get kind of frustrated when I hear that and read that; people say ‘You’re wasting Mike Trout’--well, no we’re not," said Gubicza.
Mark Gubicza doesn't buy the take that the LA Angels are wasting Mike Trout's all-time heroic career.
Mark Gubicza had very understandable reasons as to why the common Mike Trout take can be frustrating for him to hear:
"I mean, you’re seeing Trouty doing things that no one has done when you compare him with Joe Dimaggio, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Rickey Henderson, all these all-time greats in the game," said Gubicza. "Those are some things that were all cherished."
And that's true. Yes, we haven't seen Trout in the postseason much, but we have seen him establish himself as a player who some think is the greatest player of all-time, and is at LEAST on his way to the discussion.
The three-time AL MVP is more than just that, and has posted a .305/.419/.583 (1.002 OPS) line. Those on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS marks are all higher than anyone in all of baseball since Trout entered the league in 2011. Also winning a Wilson Overall Defensive Player of the Year award, Trouty is known for his defensive excellence as well.
Gubicza is by no means sugarcoating anything. He made it clear to me that the Angels, and baseball, NEED to get Trout and Ohtani into the playoffs.
"Getting Trouty and Ohtani in the postseason would be magical for the sport, and even for marginal baseball fans to see those two play," said Gubicza.
He talked to me about how being from the East Coast, he knows a lot of people from over there who absolutely want to see Trout and Ohtani play, but just don't get the chance due to the time zone differences preventing the Angels from playing in the best time slots. He stressed that the Halos need to get in the national spotlight in order for those around the game to fully see and appreciate what the Angels bring to the table.
As for what the Halos need to do to get there, he echoes what the rest of the fans want too. He does, however, see the team making improvements.
"Bottom line is the team needs to be more consistent on the mound," said Gubicza. "And Perry Minasian’s worked very hard already before the lockout hit. He’s added some pretty good arms to this rotation and the bullpen."
All in all, Gubicza doesn't blame fans for being frustrated by the team's lack of success. He gets it himself.
"If you don’t make the playoffs, you don’t win a World Series, your fan base is going to be upset, and that’s understandable. Even in my position doing these games everyday, I’ve become a fan myself. And so you kind of want success for the team, the organization, the fans."- Mark Gubicza, LA Angels color analyst