The Mike Trout extension is finally here! It came at the perfect time: the Freeway Series! I first saw the notification on my iPhone. Alden Gonzalez was reporting it. MLB Trade Rumors and Twitter began flooding. Baseball Tonight stopped in their tracks. Soon afterward, and topped off by an earthquake, the club announced the agreement: six years, $144.5 million.
A major turning point in Angels’ history had just occurred.
The Mike Trout extension covers three arbitration years (2015-2017), and three years of free agency (2018-2020). Since Trout signed a one-year $1 million dollar contract for this season, the deal doesn’t kick in until next season.
One could look at this deal as a seven-year, $145.5 million dollar contract.
In terms of average annual value, the Mike Trout extension is the biggest for a player with between two and three years of MLB service. With no options at the back-end, Trout will be a free agent at age 29.
This extension could also speed up talks with the City of Anaheim, and may get a stadium deal done.
As far as payroll, the Mike Trout extension will replace the contracts of Vernon Wells and Joe Blanton. So the payroll won’t change much at the core. Most financial changes will occur in arbitration. So the Halos could stay under the luxury tax beyond 2014. However, owner Arte Moreno said he will go over the limit for the right player.
Mike Trout is that player.
With all this praise about the Mike Trout extension, there is one more important thing: Mike Trout is the best player in the game. With an expensive core in place, the Angels can continue building around it with depth, as well as rebuild their farm system. This was a great deal for all parties, and perhaps the most important move in Angels’ history.
In other words, the window for long-term success is opening up again for the Angels.