The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and superstar outfielder Mike Trout have reportedly agreed to a six-year contract extension worth $144.5 million. The deal begins in 2015, meaning that the Angels will retain Trout for his first three would-be free agent seasons. The deal includes a no-trade clause.
In general, like this deal for both sides.
The Angels have locked up the best player for three seasons beyond his arbitration years. Those arbitration years were likely to be outrageously expensive, and, assuming Trout continues trouting, any deal following them would certainly come with an average annual value greater than $24 million, especially as baseball’s economy continues to inflate.
Trout gets $144.5 million. That’s enough money to cover roughly 3,000 teachers’ salaries in the United States.
Trout gets security. If something horrible were to happen and he should become, like, a four-win player, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal because he will have enough money to host several End of The World Parties.
Trout gets a crack at free agency while he’s still in his twenties. If he trouts for the next seven years, the open market competition for Trout’s services would be LeBronian. (The Internet would shut down if Trout signed with the Marlins.)
There are at least three more things to think about from the Angels’ perspective.
First, the deal includes no option years at the tail end, which could be a major issue. If Trout were to remain great, options on the back end of the deal could be used to retain him at very high salaries that would, in theory, be worth it because of his production.
Second, the Angels did not guarantee a ten-year deal. Let’s not forget how risky long-term contracts are. This seems like it can’t go wrong because it’s Mike Trout, but there are actually many ways that this could go wrong. Serious injury is a real possibility, despite its relative unlikelihood. The Angels are not prohibited from negotiating another deal halfway through this one, if they’d like to extend at that point.
Third, the Angels get cost certainty. As they look to supplement their team over the next few years, they’ll know exactly how far their long-term commitments leave them from the luxury tax threshold, which is apparently very important to ownership.
Ultimately, this is a win-win deal. It would have been kind of cool to see Trout go to arbitration, just because there really isn’t a fair, modern-era comparison for him, but it’s just as cool to watch him laser the ball to all fields, steal bases with ease, and patrol the outfield diligently.