Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels have come to terms on a six-year contract extension worth an estimated $144.5 million. The deal kicks in next season and will keep Trout in Los Angeles through the 2020 season.
Trout, still only 22 years of age, has quickly developed into one of the games premier players after only two seasons. The star centerfielder will be paid $1 million for the 2014 season, with the extension taking effect for the 2015 season and beyond. Trout is guaranteed the full $144.5 million from the extension, and the deal also reportedly includes a no-trade clause, although Trout will not have the freedom to opt out of the deal prematurely.
Here is an enthusiastic message from the Angels organization regarding the Trout news via Twitter:
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) March 29, 2014
The Trout contract represents the largest sum ever given to a player with such limited service time in MLB history. This type of deal has been anticipated for some time, as Trout quickly burst onto the scene featuring a polished five-tool skill set that has produced a.324 batting average with 57 home runs and 87 stolen bases over his two-plus seasons. The Angels are certainly not shy about handing out large contracts, with Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton already on the payroll to the tune of a combined $365 million over the life of their respective contracts.
While these deals may have been questionable considering the length of the contracts and age of the parties involved, the Trout extension is much more practical. The Angels essentially bought out Trout’s arbitration years as well as his first three years of free agency. Without the extension, Trout would have hit the open market after the 2017 season at the age of 26.
Of course, the deal makes sense for Trout also, as he will still be eligible for free agency after the 2020 season, where he will presumably be in his prime at 29 years of age. It is almost terrifying to consider the astronomical deal that Trout will demand at this point in his career, as market inflation and his immeasurable talent will likely combine to produce a record-shattering contract.
The Trout news comes on the heels of Miguel Cabrera’s reported 10-year deal worth a record $292 million, which has not been received favorably. The parallels between Trout and Cabrera are telling, as the two have battled for the American League MVP award each of the last two seasons, with Trout finishing second both times. However, many feel that Trout is the better overall player, even at only 22 years old.
Something else to consider is the fact that Mike Trout will be a year younger than Cabrera is now when he eventually hits free agency. Imagine the possibilities.