SEATTLE -- For the first three weeks of the season, while the offense stalled and the Angels got off to the 6-14 start that ultimately might've cost them the playoffs, Mike Trout was in the Minor Leagues, dominating Triple-A pitching and waiting for his shot to come up to the Majors and ultimately turn in one of the greatest seasons in baseball history.
But what if he had come up sooner?
"I don't know how much sooner we could've called him up," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "I mean, Mike had no Spring Training at all [because of a nasty virus and shoulder tendinitis]. Essentially, if you look at Spring Training, even the game portion of Spring Training is a monthlong exercise. We didn't even give him that long. He had enough time to go down and get his timing, hit .420-something and then pop up and be the best player around. I have not lost sleep thinking about that, about the idea that we didn't call him up soon enough."
Since Trout's first game on April 28, the Angels have the best record in the American League at 83-57, reflective of Trout's 10.7 Wins Above Replacement score, which is far greater than any other player and has sparked a heated debate over voting for the Most Valuable Player Award.
Speaking to reporters at Safeco Field on Tuesday, prior to the penultimate game of the season, Dipoto touched on numerous topics. He confirmed that the coaching staff will return, talked about the aspirations to re-sign Zack Greinke, indicated a desire to bring back Chris Iannetta and, without going into detail, said he'll have "quite a bit" of financial flexibility this offseason.
The date of Trout's callup isn't something Dipoto is second-guessing, but there sure are other things.
"There will always be things that you second-guess about," Dipoto said. "But the worst thing you can do is sit here and drive yourself crazy second-guessing. Should we have done this? Could you have built the roster in this way? At the end of the day, I believe this is a very good team. I do. I think it's a very good team, we played like a very good team for much of the season. You can't control what the other teams around you are doing, and we weren't able to catch them.
"We had a lot of positive things happen, we had a fair number of negative things happen. Now we have to pick up, we have to reset and build for 2013."