TEMPE, Ariz. -- They play different positions, hail from different countries and approach the game in different ways.
But over the last few months -- while caught in the middle of a heated, old school vs. new school MVP debate -- Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera have built a friendship.
Down the stretch last season, Trout would frequently mess with Cabrera at third base, faking like he's going to bunt on the very first pitch of the game just to see if he'd flinch. And during January's Baseball Writers' Association of America dinner in New York, the two did a photo shoot for ESPN The Magazine, which will put them on the cover of their March 4 issue under the headline: "This Is W.A.R."
"I like talking to him, messing with him," Trout said. "He messes with me. He's a great guy."
Asked when the two got close, Trout said: "At the end of the year, with the [batting] average and stuff. We knew where we were at, and we knew we were competing against each other."
Cabrera won the American League MVP Award over Trout, on the strength of the first Triple Crown in 45 years and his Tigers reaching the postseason, but the Venezuelan native frequently said Trout deserved the honors because of his all-around play -- best characterized by the all-encompassing, controversial sabermetric stat, Wins Above Replacement.
"It makes you feel good, obviously, but I'm going to say the same thing back -- he should've won the MVP," Trout said. "I'm always going to say the same thing about him. It's pretty cool. He's a great guy. He's not that guy who goes out there and talks. He's not cocky. He's really humble, and he just goes out there and gets his business done."