Mike Trout Gets Paid

Much to the chagrin of my Phillies fan contingent, Mike Trout has signed an epic 10-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Angels. When finalized, the deal is expected to be worth over $364MM in new money. Since he's already owed $66.5MM before the deal kicks in, it's being slightly misleadingly reported as a $430MM extension. 

Reactions tend to fall into two buckets: "WOAW SO MUCH MONEY" and "UNDERPAID!" Both hold a kernel of truth. The extension pays Trout to be roughly a four win player over the next 12 years. Presently, Trout is something like a 10 or 11 win player. If his decline phase kicks in later than the average player, he'll have "earned" nearly his entire contract within the next four seasons. Even a rapid fall from grace, a la Albert Pujols, will probably work out for Los Angeles. This is why it's such an easy deal for the Angels to accept.

It's also an easy yes for Trout. The contract guarantees him a massive payday. After watching the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers fail to participate in the markets of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, it's fair to wonder just how many teams would actually have been in on Trout. Remember, Macharper are both 26-year-olds. Trout would have been 29 as a free agent. Teams, even the deep pocketed ones, are increasingly "smart" with their money. Many would probably prefer to show a token interest in Trout rather than gamble on his age 29 to 40 seasons with record breaking money.

Trout also hasn't been a model of health in recent seasons. Imagine he loses most of a year to injury, plays at a diminished level because of a nagging problem, or simply continues to miss bits and pieces of each season. In hypothetical free agency, that $364MM could quickly turn into a sub-$200MM offer. There are (unlikely) scenarios where he's stuck signing a Trout-sized version of the Braves' Josh Donaldson deal. While he probably could have bettered this deal on the open market, the chance for a slightly higher payday probably wasn't worth the risk of a much smaller one.

Ultimately, as much as I'd have liked to see Trout play for a better team or in a friendlier ballpark, I can't criticize the player or the team for locking in this extension. Kudos to all involved for finding a mutually beneficial answer.

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