When Clayton Kershaw signed his massive seven year, $215M extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers we naturally wondered about the contact extension the Los Angeles Angels would give the best position player in all of baseball: Mike Trout. At the time, based on Trout’s age, production and the market, we approximated that he should be worth somewhere between 34-37M per season.
Well, we may have been off a bit.
Yesterday news broke that Trout and the Angels were discussing a contract extension worth $150M over 6 seasons. There’s a couple of different ways to view this bit of news. First, by signing for $25M per season Trout, 22, would be taking, essentially, a discount. However, Trout is not eligible for salary arbitration until the 2015 and wouldn’t be a free agent until 2018. Also, by taking a “shorter” term contract it allows Trout to grab another “slice of pie” at age 28, when he would hit the open market. If Trout’s career continues on this trajectory, which may be impossible, he would certainly be the most coveted free agent of all-time.
The Angels have discussed getting a deal done with Trout before the season started, even though any extension wouldn’t affect their cap until the 2015 season. If the Angels did give Trout a 6-year, $150M deal they would have to be happy about ONLY $25M per season on Trout; however, they will probably not be completely thrilled with the deal. In a perfect world the Angels would love to lock Trout down for more than 6 years, if possible. The Angels could have stepped up to the plate and offered Trout and 10-year, $300M deal. However, the front office has been scared off by the Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton deals. Another massive deal would have caused the front office to invest in Tums stock.
The only real problem with this deal is it is truly a 3-year deal worth $100M. Like we mentioned, Trout isn’t eligible to be a free agent until 2018 and this contract would begin in 2015. Essentially, the Angels are buying up Trout’s arbitration years for a total of $60M, which is probably around what he would get from an arbiter, and giving him a 3-year extension for $90M. The average value of his last three seasons would be $30M, which is still short of what he would make as a free agent; however, it’s fair compensation.
It’s hard to argue with any deal regarding Trout. He is the best position player in baseball and is worth every year and every penny.