Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels are finalizing a 12-year contract extension worth more than $430 million, cementing his future with the club that has committed to winning with him in its lineup well into his 30s. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
The wondering and speculation can stop. We have our answer.
Mike Trout, the star Los Angeles Angels center fielder and undisputed best player in baseball since his debut, has committed to play the rest of his career with the Angels, agreeing to a 12-year extension that will pay him more than $430 million.
The deal is being finalized, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Trout had two more years on a six-year, $144.5 million extensions, but the Angels are now adding 10 years onto that. It will set a new major league record with a $36 million average annual value, and the $430 million total smashes Bryce Harper’s recently signed deal – $330 million with the Philadelphia Phillies – by more than 30 percent. Trout will be 39 years old when the deal is complete.
The extension takes Trout off the market, and what a market it was playing out to be. Even with him entering free agency as a 29-year old, it was expected to be an all-time clamoring on the open market, with Harper already recruiting him after he signed with Philly. The speculation of what Trout could get has been a hot topic for a couple years now, with the final totals always expected to eclipse Harper.
Now we know for sure. Trout’s extension gives him the largest contract in major league history – by a mile – and the richest in sports history, topping Canelo Alvarez’s $365 million deal with DAZN.
Trout and Shohei Ohtani are the pillars of the franchise that will try to lead the Angels to their first postseason victory in Trout’s career. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Based on on-field performance, no other player in baseball history has deserved this deal more than Trout. Since his debut in 2011, he has a .307/.416/.573 line with 240 home runs, 189 stolen bases and 64.3 wins above replacement (by Baseball-Reference calculations). That WAR total is more than any player has ever put up through his age-26 season.
Trout already has two American League MVP awards and finished second four times – and it’s arguable that some of those runner-up finishes should have been first-place ones. If he retired today, Trout would have a legitimate case to make the Hall of Fame and would be considered the best player of his generation.
He’s that good. And now we know he’ll be paid as such. For the Angels, this was a deal they believed they had to make, people familiar with their thinking told Forbes.
Despite being saddled with the burdensome contracts of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton that total $365 million, owner Arte Moreno did not feel he could allow Trout to hit free agency and risk him leaving the franchise that drafted him. And to Trout’s credit, he’s never talked about looking elsewhere, only that he wants to win in Anaheim.
The Angels have a farm system with promise for the first time in a long time, and the ability to keep their payroll growing immediately, and even more so once Pujols’ contract comes off the books after the 2021 season. That had to give Trout incentive to stay in Southern California rather than explore the open market and flirt with the Phillies, essentially his hometown team as he grew up in Millville, New Jersey.
This doesn’t mean the Angels are real contenders this very moment, but it creates security when recruiting other players to join Trout, the same way having Harper does for the Phillies. Now, the onus is on the Angels to make good on their commitment to winning with Trout, who’s played in all of one postseason that saw the Angels get swept.