MONDAY: MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reports that the Angels don't have to wait until Opening Day to sign Trout to an extension in order to avoid luxury tax ramifications. Because Trout has already had his 2014 salary set, the Angels can structure an extension beginning with the 2015 season without undergoing penalty. In other words: they can extend Trout as soon as they want. This, Gonzalez writes, is the same rationale the Yankees used when signing Brett Gardner to a four-year extension that doesn't kick in until 2015.
SUNDAY, 2:00 pm: "No comment, but I like how a lot of people are writing it. It's pretty funny," Trout told reporters, including Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
12:46 pm: Mike Trout and the Angels are discussing a six-year deal worth about $150MM, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports. The deal would buy out two free agent seasons, and allow Trout to become a free agent at age 28. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweets the Angels' desire is for a seven-year pact in the $150-160MM range. Trout is represented by LSW Baseball.
There are still details to iron out, as Passan notes that there remains a difference between the two sides in the "low eight figures." The deal will cover one pre-arbitration season, as well as three arbitration years. Fangraphs' Dave Cameron recently wrote about the possibility of a Trout extension and estimated Trout might make a total of $60MM during his arbitration seasons, so a $150MM extension over six years might essentially buy out two free agency years at a little less than $45MM apiece.
Passan suggests that, in practice, Trout might actually get $35MM and $38MM in those seasons. Those still sound like enormous figures, but they're hardly surprising given the escalation of salaries throughout baseball and given that those two free-agency years would be the age-26 and age-27 seasons for the best player in the game. The $25MM average annual value would tie teammate Josh Hamilton as the richest for an outfielder (per Cot's Baseball Contracts), but the six-year, $150MM proposal would still fall far short of the record-setting seven-year, $215MM extension Clayton Kershaw signed with the Dodgers last month.
The timing of the extension is crucial to the Angels, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. The Angels are not believed to be interested in signing Trout to a deal that includes 2014, because it would likely push them over the $189MM luxury tax threshold. Fletcher reports the Angels are approximately $15MM under the threshold now and, by reaching a deal on a 2015 contract sometime after Opening Day, could avoid going over because it would not count against this year's cap, even if Trout receives a sizeable signing bonus to be paid in 2014.
Recently, Jeff Todd asked MLBTR readers about the parameters of a Trout extension. The consensus (as measured by the median of responses) was the Angels should be willing to give Trout a 10-year, $300MM deal, but a nine-year, $250MM contract is more likely to be reached.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.