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Nobody's more valuable than Mike Trout, but will he be MVP?

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Late in the regular season, a couple of Houston Astros players paused between their rounds of batting practice to speculate about some negotiations to come in the offseason, about what Bryce Harper and Manny Machado might get in free agency and where they might land.

The conversation turned then to the expected extension conversation the Los Angeles Angels might open with Mike Trout, whose contract expires after the 2020 season.

"I think what you would do," said one of the Astros, smiling, "is add up what Harper and Machado get -- and that's what you give Trout."

The American League Most Valuable Player Award will be unveiled Thursday and it seems a certainty that Boston's Mookie Betts will win the voting in a runaway. But that does not mean that Trout, long regarded as the game's best player, is somehow diminished in stature in the eyes of his peers, or in history.