What’s next for Angels after Mike Trout injury?

Angels' Mike Trout plays against the Boston Red Sox.
Angels’ Mike Trout plays against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning on Sunday in Boston.
(Michael Dwyer / Associated Press)

With the best player in baseball in their lineup, the Angels had lost more games than they had won, a disturbing annual ritual. Now, on the day the Angels lost Mike Trout until probably July, Joe Maddon was talking about the playoffs.

Playoffs? You talkin’ about playoffs?

“Other guys are going to get an opportunity right now to help us ascend into this race properly,” the Angels manager said Tuesday. “By the time Mike gets back, he’ll be ready to go, and really fresh into August, September and the playoffs.”

That is the best-case scenario. But, with Trout looking down and sounding downcast during a Zoom interview Tuesday, this scenario came to mind: Trout might not play another meaningful game until 2022.


The Angels have given up more runs than any major league team that does not play its home games at Coors Field, entering play Tuesday. Only one team has a worse run differential. No team has made more errors.

If Trout returns from his strained calf within the projected timetable of six to eight weeks, he could join a team ready for a second-half run. However, given the results to date and the way the team was built, Trout also could return to the roster just in time for first-year general manager Perry Minasian to tear it apart.

Angels star Mike Trout is expected to miss 6-8 weeks after sustaining a right calf strain during Monday’s win over Cleveland.

May 18, 2021

On the day he found out his injury could keep him sidelined longer than any other in his 10-year career, it would have been understandable if Trout had passed on the Zoom call. To his credit, he did the interview, with pain not only in his calf but in his voice.

“I’m really crushed,” he said.

Over the winter and into the spring, Minasian filled out the roster with players on one-year contracts. That could make Minasian extremely busy in the weeks preceding the July 30 trade deadline.

Need a starting pitcher? Call Perry! The contracts of Dylan Bundy, Alex Cobb, Andrew Heaney and Jose Quintana expire this fall.

Need a relief pitcher? Perry’s got a bullpen full of arms on one-year contracts, including closer Raisel Iglesias. Need a shortstop? You can rent Jose Iglesias for the rest of the season. Need a slugger for two pennant races? Justin Upton could be yours.


Trading Upton would allow the Angels to play prospects Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh regularly for the final months of the season. Trading starters would allow the Angels to give depth pitchers Patrick Sandoval, Jose Suarez and Jaime Barria chances to show whether they belong in the majors, and not on an endless loop between Anaheim and triple-A Salt Lake.

By trading veterans for whatever minor leaguers he could get, Minasian could build depth in the Angels’ thin farm system, then develop a pretty good idea of what he needs to do to develop a long-term contender.

Arte Moreno, the Angels’ owner, commendably approved Minasian’s recommendation to release Albert Pujols. Perhaps Moreno could be persuaded to let Minasian blend a youth movement around Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon, none of whom is older than 30.

This strategy, of course, is Plan B.

Plan A is getting better while Trout gets better. That could make Trout, as Maddon put it, “one of the best Aug. 1 acquisitions in history.”

Shohei Ohtani hit a homer while Mike Trout exited the game with a right calf strain in the Angels’ 7-4 win over the Cleveland Indians on Monday.

May 17, 2021

In Trout’s career, the Angels are 34 games over .500 with him, 25 games under .500 without him, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Ohtani hit his league-leading 14th home run Tuesday, but the Angels’ lineup included four men batting under .200.

The offense, Maddon said, did not particularly concern him. Sabermetrics might suggest the Angels should be pitching better, but the results are what count. The results are not at an acceptable level, let alone a high level.


“There’s definitely enough runs to be had, if in fact we pitch to that level and catch the ball,” Maddon said. “That’s it. I really believe, if there’s a linchpin to our success, the pitching has to really tighten up.

“That’s where our success lies. It’s not complicated. If we pitch, we win.”

Heaney gave up five runs in the first inning Tuesday, one perilous day closer to 2022.