With Mike Trout down to his penultimate season of team control, the Angels have recently considered offering the center fielder a record-breaking contract – a $350MM extension over 10 years – though it’s unclear if they’ve actually proposed it, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (subscription required). Per Rosenthal, the accord would run from 2021-30, Trout’s age-29 to 38 seasons, meaning the future Hall of Famer would finish out the remaining two years and $66.5MM on his current contract before the extension would take effect.
A $350MM guarantee would be the highest in the history of baseball, quickly unseating the $330MM pact Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper received this week. It would also set a new high-water mark for average annual value at $35MM, defeating Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke’s $34.4MM per year. Still, as Rosenthal rightly observes, neither number appears adequate for Trout – a seven-time All-Star and two-time American League MVP who, at age 27, is already one of the greatest players in the history of the game. Since his first full season in 2012, Trout has posted a ridiculous 64.0 fWAR, just over 27 wins more than second-place man Josh Donaldson, while easily leading the majors in wRC+ (174, 17 percent better than runner-up Joey Votto) and slashing .310/.420/.579 with 235 home runs and 185 stolen bases across 4,538 plate appearances.
Just as Trout has lapped his competition on the diamond, he’s on track to do the same on his forthcoming deal – whether he signs an extension in the next two years or reaches free agency after 2020. Harper, the Padres’ Manny Machado (10 years, $300MM) and the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado (eight years, $260MM) have each signed enormous contracts in recent weeks, but as superb as they’ve been, their careers pale in comparison to Trout’s.
Since he first graced the majors in 2011, Trout has produced nearly $500MM in on-field value, according to FanGraphs. Trout has a case to aim for that figure (or $400MM-plus at minimum) on his next contract, but it doesn’t seem he’s in any rush to determine his long-term future just yet, having already achieved financial security when he landed a $144.5MM extension back in March 2014. When asked Friday if he’d be open to discussing a second extension with the Angels this spring, Trout didn’t slam the door shut, but he did suggest he’s more worried about readying himself for the regular season.
If Trout holds off on an extension, the Angels’ performance as a team this season could impact whether he’ll be open to discussions next winter. Trout “desperately” wants to win and has done everything in his power to carry the Angels to glory, but they’ve been startlingly inept despite his presence. Through the first seven full campaigns of Trout’s career, the Angels have earned just one playoff berth and haven’t even won a single postseason game. They’re now mired in a four-year playoff drought and haven’t finished above .500 since 2015.