Sometime in the pretty near future, the Los Angeles Angels are going to have to get serious about this contract business in regard to Mike Trout. A team with no shortage of large contracts, thanks to the last couple of offseasons, the club will have to worry about locking up their young superstar to a contract extension before he hits arbitration, or risk going year-to-year with a player who is going to set records in that aspect if he reaches it.
As of right now, Trout is not arbitration eligible. After making barely over $5ook last season, the Angels have the ability to control his salary for another year. After the 2014 season comes to a close, he’ll be eligible for arbitration until he hits free agency after the 2017 season. In that regard, the Angels have time before they risk losing Mike Trout altogether. Nonetheless, the goal for the Halos is obviously going to be to lock him up long term in the near future, saving them a bit of money in the long run.
Even though they’ll be saving some extra money by not going year-to-year in arbitration with Trout, they’re going to be attempting to lock up a player who could very well grab the largest contract in the history of baseball. Alex Rodriguez currently has the title of the largest in history, when he and the New York Yankees agreed to a $275 million pact back in 2007. The Halos signed a past-his-prime Albert Pujols to a $240 million deal two offseasons ago, and Robinson Cano got a similar deal from the Seattle Mariners this year. Trout can blow the doors off of all of those deals in an extension.
You’re talking about a guy who is only 22 and won’t turn 23 until August. In his first two full years of big league action, Mike Trout has finished second in voting for the American League Most Valuable Player race, and the argument from the sabermetrics community is that he should have won it each time. He’s the best player in baseball, all things considered.
This is a kid who has slashed .314/.404/.544/.948 in his first two years, totaling 57 home runs, 180 runs knocked in, well over 200 runs scored, and 82 steals. He’s been a 10 WAR player in each of his first two years, with a total wRC+ of 163 combined in 2012 and 2013. The defense is obviously there too. His Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) was up over 13 in 2012 before declining in 2013.
Considering the fact that players in their 30s, like Pujols and Cano, received contracts that are worth as much as $240 million, it’s quite easy to imagine Mike Trout reaching the $300 million mark. This isn’t a past-his-prime guy like either of those two. He represents the face of the franchise for the Angels, and should for at least the next decade. Look for the Angels to go 10 or 12 years on a contract, and for $300 mil to be the starting point in negotiations.
Heck, even $400 million doesn’t seem out of reach when you’re talking about a player of Trout’s caliber.