At 37-45, the Los Angeles Angels are likely to miss the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season.
Mike Trout hasn't made the playoffs since 2014, when he won his first of three American League MVPs at the age of 22. And for at least another year, one of the most unfortunate streaks in sports appears likely to continue.
Now 30, Trout says that his focus still remains on winning with the Angels, rather than potentially seeking a trade.
"I signed the contract and this is where I want to be," Trout told Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register. "A lot of people are like, 'Oh, he wants to be traded. Do this. Do that. I want to win. Everybody knows that.
"Going into this year, this isn't where we wanted to be, obviously. Everybody knows that. We've still got time to turn this around."
While a managerial change has flipped the script on the season for het Philadelphia Phillies, firing Joe Maddon hasn't proven to have the desired effect for the Angels. Under Maddon, the Angels were 27-29. The Angels are 10-16 since dismissing Maddon, and interim manager Phil Nevin is currently in the midst of a 10-game suspension for his role in a brawl against the Seattle Mariners in late June. Nevin won't return to the dugout until Saturday. The Angels are 17 games back of the Houston Astros in the AL West, and seven games back of the third and final Wild Card spot in the junior circuit.
For his part, Trout is having another spectacular individual season, slashing .273/.374/.619 with 23 home runs, 47 RBIs, 38 walks, a .993 OPS and a 3.7 fWAR. But while this season is likely to end with another top-five finish in MVP voting, Trout will almost certainly be at home in October of 2022.
What's more, reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani can become a free agent after the 2023 season. There's increasing speculation about whether the two-way superstar will want to remain with the Halos if he doesn't believe they'll be a consistent playoff contender. And if Ohtani tops the $35.4 million average annual value Trout is due every year through 2030, how will the Angels be able to build a contending team around the two? Keep in mind, Anthony Rendon -- who is out for the season with a wrist injury -- is due $152 million over the next four seasons and possesses a full no-trade clause.
For now, it makes sense for Trout to say that he's fully committed to the Angels. But it sure is hard to imagine the team starting a sustained run of success in 2023. And that leaves you to wonder whether Trout and his team will reassess his future with the Angels at any point in the coming months.