Los Angeles Angels superstar outfielder Mike Trout is close to finalizing a 10-year, $363.3 million contract extension with the team, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
The contract, which is the largest contract in professional sports history, could keep Trout with the Angels for the remainder of his career. His average annual salary on the deal will be $36 million, topping the $34.4 million a year the Arizona Diamondbacks pay pitcher Zack Greinke on average. Less than three weeks ago, Bryce Harper inked a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, which at the time topped New York Yankees outfielder/designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton for the largest contract in baseball/sports history. Now, Trout will earn $100 million more than Harper, meaning the two-time AL MVP received a 30% larger contract.
There are also no opt-outs in Trout’s new contract, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
In March 2014, Trout signed a six-year, $144.5 million contract with the Angels to take him through the 2020 season. That contract is still in-tact, as Trout will earn $33.2 million in both 2019 and 2020. Teams were already starting to position themselves to recruit Trout after his contract expired in the 2020, with Trout’s hometown Phillies being very transparent with their plan. Harper had the following to tell a Philadelphia-based radio station when asked about Trout potentially coming to Philadelphia:
“If you don’t think I’m going to call Mike Trout in 2020, to have him to come to Philly, you’re crazy,” Harper said.
This comment from Harper didn’t resinate well with the Angels, who complained to Major League Baseball’s commissioner’s office about a possible tampering situation. Harper and others within the Phillies could’ve potentially be fined as a result of Harper’s comments, but that appears to be out the window now with Trout on the Angels books until 2031.
Throughout Trout’s MLB career, the Angels haven’t had much success when it comes to making the postseason. Trout is widely considered to be the best player in baseball, but the Angels have only made the playoffs one time in the first eight seasons of his career, and that was a 2014 ALDS sweep against the Kansas City Royals. In 15 plate appearances that series, Trout only had one hit, and that was a solo homer. While Trout didn’t perform in his lone playoff appearance, the Angels just simply haven’t had the talent around Trout to win as well.
So far, the best the Angels have managed to do to build their team around Trout was to sign Albert Pujols to a ten-year, $240 million contract in December 2011. At the minimum, the Angels still owe Pujols $87 million, and while the 39-year-old still intends to finish the remainder of his contract with the club, you have to wonder if there becomes a point in time where Angels brass just makes the decision to cut bait. Pujols has been in steady decline ever since the 2015 season, his only all-star appearance with the Angels.
There also other intriguing options on the Angels roster, especially when it comes to two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani. Due to Tommy John surgery, Ohtani will only be able to serve in a designated hitter’s role in 2019, but he is still arguably already the second-best player on the team behind Trout. Other issues for the Angels that persist with their roster is the inability to stay healthy. They have players such as Justin Upton and Andrelton Simmons that are able to stay healthy, but players like Zack Cozart and other pitchers have struggled with their health in Los Angeles.
Original reporting about the contract suggested that the contract was a 12-year, $430 million extension, but that was factoring in the 2019 and 2020 seasons that were already agreed to. Just like on the previous contract, this one also comes with a full no-trade clause.
Trout, who is already one of the greatest baseball players of all-time, batted .312/.460/.628 with 39 home runs and 79 runs batted in last season. Trout also swiped 24 stolen bases across his 140 games last season, and his 10.2 WAR brought his career WAR total to 64.3. Assuming he is able to put up at least 5.7 in WAR this season, Trout will jump into the top-100 all-time on the career WAR list. Babe Ruth is by far and away the number one player, with a career WAR of 182.5.
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