Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The hot word over the weekend was the potential for Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels to come together on a contract extension before the regular season gets underway. It’s rumored that the two sides could be working on an agreement to the tune of six years and $150 million. Should that deal, or something similar to it, come to fruition, it would be an absolutely terrific one and a move that would make plenty of sense for both parties.
Mike Trout’s credentials really go without saying at this point. Perhaps the best all-around player in the game, Trout has proven to be elite in just about every facet of the game in his short career. He’s a 10 WAR player that can do it all, and despite the massive payroll that the Angels currently boast, he’s obviously the piece they want to build around. However, his contract status has been a lingering issue for the Halos.
The biggest thing for the Angels here is to buy out Trout’s arbitration years. As of now, he stands to be the highest awarded player in the history of baseball through salary arbitration, and could be satisfied taking them year-to-year in arbitration and raking in the dough that way. The goal for the Angels is to obviously buy those years out, perhaps while taking a year or two of free agency away as well, all while trying to keep the price manageable. This deal would satisfy exactly what they’re trying to do.
Perhaps the largest question here is what incentive does Mike Trout have to take that deal? He can take the Angels year-to-year through arbitration and continue to get paid right up until he jumps ship to the New York Yankees or Philadelphia Phillies. Well, for one, he gets paid. In the event of an injury, he wouldn’t be costing himself massive dollars as he’d already be pulling in $25 million+ per year. On top of that, he’d be looking at free agency at 28, where he’d have the opportunity to cash in on the mega deal that so many have already slated him for.
There’s no doubt about the fact that $150 million is a lot of money. It’d make Mike Trout one of the highest paid players in baseball, at just 22 years of age. But this is what the Angels need to do in order to retain their superstar. Get him locked up on a deal like this and keep him through his prime, perhaps reevaluate a few years down the road and extend him again.
The benefits for each side here are undeniable. Which is why a deal should easily be in place by the time Opening Day rolls around.