How the Angels can convince Mike Trout to stay

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The Angels sit two games below .500 and 19 games out of first place heading into the season’s final three weeks. They will miss the playoffs for the eighth time in the past nine years, while burdened with a top-heavy payroll, an underwhelming farm system and one major source of anxiety: Trout’s expiring contract.

The six-year, $144.5 million extension that Trout signed in the spring of 2014 will come to an end in the fall of 2020, which basically gives Eppler two offseasons.

Two offseasons to turn the Angels into a team that can consistently contend.

Two offseasons to convince the greatest player of his generation that he should not leave.9

Trout has produced 62.8 wins above replacement since 2012 — nearly double the output of anyone else in baseball — but the Angels have zero postseason victories in that seven-year span. By all accounts, Trout enjoys living in Southern California and likes playing for the Angels. But he also yearns to win, and he probably won’t stay if he doesn’t believe he can.

Eppler’s plan is to “continue to invest” in the Angels.

A complete rebuild is not an option.

“We’re going to continue to improve this club and watch the development of some young players emerging into the major leagues, be open-minded in the trade market and in the free-agent market, and put together a contending team next season,” Eppler said. “That’s our goal.”

The big-picture goal is to sell the future of this franchise to Trout, a homegrown superstar on a path toward becoming an inner-circle Hall of Famer.