The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim recently signed superstar outfielder Mike Trout to a one-year, $1 million deal. Based on Trout’s production the last two seasons, this deal is the ultimate bargain. For just $1 million, the Angels happily employ the best all-around player in the game.
But there’s a difference between Trout’s one-year deal and all other contracts for pre-arbitration eligible players: Trout’s deal set a new record.
He’s likely not done setting contract records, as the Angels are said to be trying to negotiate a multi-year deal with Trout that would keep him in Los Angeles through his arbitration years and even buy out the first few years of free agency.
In Trout’s perspective, this could be ideal as well. Though there’s a chance he’d get more per year in arbitration, this multi-year deal would give him some long-term stability and insurance against injury.
Meanwhile, he’s still only 22 and would only be 28 or 29 when his contract runs out. At that point, he’s be eligible to sign another huge deal, probably in the range of seven to 10 years at upwards of $30 million per season or even more depending on how MLB contracts evolve.
The Angels have shown they are willing to spend money lately, with huge deals to Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. At this point, they’d be crazy to not meet the demands of Trout, at least for the first big contract.
It’s a total crapshoot once the first contract runs outs, because if Trout continues his pace, you know the heavy hitters of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox would be involved. These franchises could offer Trout so much, and we’ve seen that loyalty means very little in baseball.
Trout right now needs to focus on playing the game hard and more importantly staying healthy. His big paydays are right around the corner, and he seems grounded enough that he won’t let the big money get to his head.
A perfect sign of this was in his second at-bat of Spring Training even after signing the record deal. Sure it’s only spring, but Trout launched a grand slam to put a fitting exclamation point on his new contract.
The Angels know right now that they have baseball’s prized possession. Now it’s up to them to get the most out of their investment, and hopefully put themselves in a position to keep the “halo” over Trout’s head for his whole career.
But the true winner in all this is Trout, who at 22 years old can sign a deal now that will set him up financially for the rest of his life. And then he can add to his wealth six years later with an even larger contract -- from either the Angels or another wealthy team.
It sure does pay to be really good at baseball.
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