ANAHEIM -- Now that the Angels have their new manager in place, their attention could shift to another key business matter this offseason: Exploring the possibility of a contract extension for star center fielder Michael Trout.
The two sides have not begun any formal talks, but owner Arte Moreno said Monday that attempting to lock up Trout, who is under contract for two more seasons, remains a priority.
"We've talked about this a lot of times," Moreno said following Brad Ausmus' introductory news conference at Angel Stadium. "Sometimes you have things on the back of your mind, and sometimes you have things on the front of your mind. That's one of those things that's always on the front of your mind because he's been here for eight years or so. We've known him a long time. He's such a pleasant person. He's such a great person and then you get this great athlete that you watch."
Trout, 27, is under control through the 2020 season after signing a six-year, $144.5 million contract extension in March 2014. He is set to earn $34 million in each of the final two years of his current deal.
Already a two-time American League MVP Award winner and a seven-time All-Star, Trout is coming off what he considers to be his best year to date. He batted .312 with a career-high 1.088 OPS, 39 home runs and 24 stolen bases, while also improving his defense in center field.
"I think this is my best overall season, offensively and defensively," Trout said last month. "The last few years defensively was kind of down, and I think the time and hard work that I put in to get the defensive statistics up showed."
For all of Trout's individual achievements, the Angels have yet to win a playoff game since he broke into the Majors in 2011. Their only postseason berth over that span ended in a sweep at the hands of the Royals in the 2014 AL Division Series.
Moreno acknowledged that the Angels will have to address a few holes this offseason to field a competitive team.
"We need starting pitching," Moreno said. "Bullpen help. We blew a lot of games in the last two to three innings, so just more depth, more strength in the bullpen. Offensively, probably a left-handed bat with some power to play first base. Just to fill in."
The Angels will likely have approximately $30 million to spend on upgrades this winter if they want to keep their Opening Day payroll commensurate with what it's been in the previous two seasons.
"I'm not going to tell you that we're going to spend a ton of money, but we're going to spend money," Moreno said.