Mike Trout Mega Deal: Phenom’s Agent Defends Settling For ‘Team Friendly’ Contract

Mike Trout on Friday signed a new contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim which though he’s only 22 and entering just his third season in the big leagues, will pay him $144.5 million over six years starting with the 2015 season — but amazingly some baseball industry insiders are criticizing Trout and his agent Craig Landis for not getting a better deal.

Some have even characterized the massive contract as “team-friendly.”

Without signing the deal, Mike Trout would have been eligible for salary arbitration in each of the next three seasons. Given that Trout exploded onto the MLB scene, finishing second only to Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in the MVP balloting in his first two seasons and easily taking Rookie of the Year honors in 2012, Trout was expected to take home record-setting arbitration awards every time.

Barring a serious injury, Trout almost certainly could have earned more through the arbitration process than the $10.25 million, $15.25 million and $19.25 million he’ll be paid under the new contract in each of its first three years.

After that, Trout would have been eligible for free agency and with the skyward direction that the free agent market is headed, and that fact that Trout would be only 26 and just entering the prime of his career, he would have been in line for some team to pay an unprecedented amount of money for his services.

But Trout and Landis left all of that on the table for a “mere” $144.5 million.

Of course, in the back half of his new contract — covering what would have been the first three years after his free agency — Mike Trout will make $33.25 million per year, even more than the average $31 million per year that will be paid to Cabrera under his new record-setting contract.

“When the owner puts up these big numbers like $33 million, it’s hard to turn down,” said Trout Saturday. He also said that the possibility of injury factored into his decision. “You never know what could happen. You could get hurt during the season. I’m happy, man. With the security it’s given me and my family, it’s unbelievable.”

Landis also stood up for the deal, though other agents criticized him for not taking the year-by-year approach then shooting for an astronomical free agent contract.

“They weren’t representing Mike,” said Landis, of the agents who have been critical of the Mike Trout deal. “My job is to do what the client wants me to do, to try to accomplish for him what he would like to accomplish. I spent a lot of time talking to Mike and his parents. This is not a unilateral decision.”

One agent, Scott Boras, who represents another young phenom, the Washington Nationals’ Bruce Harper, said that his client should not be expected to take a so called “team-friendly” deal, just because Mike Trout did.

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