SAN DIEGO — AL MVP Mike Trout could be hitting from the 3-hole in the Angels' lineup next season. Manager Mike Scioscia wouldn't mind seeing Trout bat second, too.
At the same time.
"If we had a guy like Mike that would hit in front of Mike, I think you'd really see some opportunities. I guess I'm sounding greedy, like a spoiled kid. You want two Mikes," Scioscia said Wednesday at baseball's winter meetings. "If we find some guys that have that on-base, I think you're going to see some lineup options come across your desk that might make a little more sense."
Trout was the Angels' leadoff hitter in 2012, when he was a unanimous pick as AL Rookie of the Year. A year later, he bounced among the top three spots in the lineup before settling into second last season. His strikeouts soared to a league-high 184 and his stolen bases dropped to 16 from 49. But he led the league in runs for the third straight year, hit a career-high 36 homers and topped 100 RBIs for the first time with 111.
What would most likely keep Trout hitting second, the spot proponents of advanced metrics prefer for a team's best hitter, is the lack of a good option for No. 2.
"You're looking at the whole lineup," Scioscia said. "How David Freese is swinging the bat. Is our lineup going to stay deep with Howie (Kendrick) and Erick (Aybar)? I think there's a lot of things that are going to be affected (by) where Mike hits in the lineup or where Albert (Pujols) hits, as far as the depth."
Several hours after Scioscia spoke, the Angels traded Kendrick to the Dodgers. To help shore up the middle infield, Los Angeles acquired Josh Rutledge from Colorado, and general manager Jerry Dipoto is confident the lineup that includes Pujols and Josh Hamilton is still potent even without Kendrick.
"We don't feel like we're a team that's going to be destitute in our ability to score runs," Dipoto said.
Scioscia also said he doesn't expect Garrett Richards to be ready for opening day. Richards was 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA when he tore a tendon in his left knee Aug. 20. He is recovering from surgery.
"I think the prognosis of having him back somewhere in the first month to maybe the first six weeks of the season looks very good," Scioscia said.