california angels logoAfter Miguel Cabrera got his totally unnecessary, and probably a huge overpay, extension from the Tigers, the other MVP (the one that probably should have won a couple by now), Mike Trout got a big extension from the Angels. And it looks like a freaking steal.

Or at least as much of a steal as a $144.5 million deal can be. That’s how much the Angels will pay Trout from 2015 through 2020 (age 28), which buys out his arbitration years and three free agent years. Dave Cameron calculated that the three arbitration years, alone, might have brought Trout about $60 million, meaning that the three free agent years just came for about $28 million apiece. That’s a huge chunk of money, but we’re talking about the age 26, 27, and 28 seasons of Mike Trout, arguably the best player in the game. That’s a bargain considering Trout has been worth 10+ WAR in each of his first two full seasons. On the free agent market, those kind of seasons are worth upwards of $60 million. Yes, I know how crazy that sounds. That’s how crazy good Mike Trout is.

Now, before we go too far in ripping Trout for settling, let’s keep in mind: he just secured 144.5 MILLION DOLLARS guaranteed. Even if you do the math that says that’s a bargain for the Angels, it’s still a hell of a lot of money to guarantee to a 22-year-old player. No one doubts that Trout will continue to be a stud, but injuries happen. There is also some data to indicate that, in the new offensive era, players don’t “peak” in their mid-to-late 20s anymore – they just decline. In other words, Trout may get worse over the next six years. Still probably a stud, but maybe not the best player in baseball by the time those free agent years kick in. (That’ll be Javier Baez, clearly.)

The extension is not much of a surprise, as it’s been rumored for weeks now. It’s a bit of a bummer, though, because watching a 26-year-old Trout go through free agency would have been something to behold. Forget whether or not the Cubs would be involved – this is all so far off and so hypothetical that it’s not worth that part of your brain – it just would have been crazy fun for all baseball fans.

In other words, dear all non-Cub superstars: stop signing extensions. Kthxbye.

  • MichiganGoat

    It also gives Trout the chance to sign another mega deal for 10+ years 300M+ contract when hits free agency at age 28 (if he continue to be a stud).

    • ssckelley

      By that time we might be talking 400 or even 500 million dollar contracts.

  • MichiganGoat

    It also makes me think if any of our prospects look great in their first couple of years how big a contract (especially in length) the Cubs will give them to lock them up.

  • Ivy Walls

    Baseball is rapidly evolving its model away from NYY’s in that FA’s will not be difference makers. Cubs FO saw this and have made their adjustments so building a pipeline system will be the difference between failure or success.

    Thing is Texas FO has now come to realize that trading for the short term is very costly.

  • bbmoney

    Trout probably could have gotten a little more now, and if he stayed healthy and hadn’t gotten seriously injured would have gotten more going year to year in arb and then in FA.

    BUT…shoot can’t blame the guy for ‘settling’ for $144.5M. Good for him. Injuries do happen after all…see Sizemore, Grady (granted..he wasn’t as good as Trout but he was a STAR).

    • ssckelley

      Perfect example with Sizemore, he looked like he was going to be one of the great ones. It shows the risk these teams are taking.

  • brains

    my guess is that trout will eventually be the highest paid player in mlb history, he’s durable, hard working, and all talent. funny how everyone calls him the face of the team already, even though pujols and hamilton are batting 3/4. pujols could have been the next stan musial if he showed team loyalty, that extra 20m he absolutely had to had almost completely erased the legacy of the second half of his career.

    relatedly, i’m starting to think that the cubs are going to permanently take a small-market approach, since even contracts for talent in their young 20s seem to be going sky high. in other words, say goodbye to kris bryant in 3-4 years. they’ll have a great spin for why.

    • Patrick W.

      Your guesses are roughly horrible.

      How much money are you willing to bet on this proposition: Kris Bryant, if still playing baseball for a major league organization, will be playing in the Cubs’ organization in 2018? I’ll take the Cubs and give you the field. Name your wager.

    • ssckelley

      I am in shock, I am agreeing with Brains and Blub in the same day.

      I know 20 million is a ton of money but comparing 220 to 240 it does not seem significant. IMO the 20 million should have been worth the accolades that come from staying with the same team you came up with and he would have ended his career as a Cardinal legend.

    • roz

      They’ll have control of Bryant for 6+ MLB seasons. Even if they didn’t sign him to a long-term deal, why would he be gone 3-4 years from now?

  • Blackhawks1963

    If Pujols retired today he would go down in history as one of the 5 all time greatest players. His accomplishments, to include multiple MVPs and 2 World Series titles are obscene. Anything he does at all in Los Angeles is icing on the cake to what is already a 1st ballot Hall of Fame career. So a dose of perspective please when ripping the guy. Mike Trout is a great talent, but he has yet to accomplish Jack squat when stacked up agains the career so far of Pujols.

    • Rich H

      Absolutely (+1)!

      Trout is a heck of talent that has started on the path to immortality but guys like Braun have shown us one thing. You have to get better to be considered ALL TIME GREAT!

      Trout would have to maintain his level for the next 8 years to even be in the conversation.

    • Patrick W.

      I agree completely with this. I also think it’s way too early to write him off. Even if last season was his new baseline (don’t think it is) he will be extremely valuable for the next 6 years.

    • TimothyScarbrough

      If Trout continues at his current pace, he would lock up a hall of fame caliber career (around 60 WAR) before his last arbitration season end. That’s insane. Mike Trout is one of the few players ever who after two years has a legitimate shot to become the greatest baseball player who ever lived.

      • TimothyScarbrough

        Before his last arbitration season would have ended that is.

      • Patrick W.

        Without question. If. Pujols has already done it. There is no need to trash Pujols to praise Trout.

        • TimothyScarbrough

          I’m just saying that Mike Trout if his career would end today, already has a higher peak then Pujols, and the kid is 22. To say “he has yet to accomplish Jack squat when stacked up agains the career so far of Pujols” is simply not true.

          • Patrick W.

            You’re telling me that Trout has already had 2 better seasons than Pujols’ 2009 and 2008 (or 2007-2008) seasons?

            • Head and Heart

              Arguably Trout has already had two better season.

              Fangraphs WAR:
              1) Trout – 10.4
              2) Trout – 10.0
              3) Pujols – 9.6
              4) Pujols 8.7

              BR WAR:
              1) Trout – 10.8
              2) Pujols – 9.7
              3) Pujols – 9.2
              4) Trout – 8.9

              There is no perfect measure and no definitive answer. But Trout has had two seasons already that rival Pujols best two seasons.

              Also of note. According to fangraphs Babe Ruth had 9 seasons with a WAR of 10 or higher with a peak in 1923 of 15.

        • brains

          just for the record i agree about pujols. my comment was more about perception of pujols than his work, which is second to none, and as far as we know drug free. he’s just that once a generation player who’s aging (and might be a year or two older than he claims). the perception of his significant work would be quite different if he had stayed in st. louis, was my point.

    • ssckelley

      Kinda stating the obvious here, right? Smart baseball teams do not pay a premium for past performances and there are not many players that can produce at a high level into their late 30s.

      • Patrick W.

        That’s not the statement. The statement is don’t rip Pujols to defend Trout. At this point in their careers (not relative careers) Pujols has accomplished a lot more than Trout (He of course has the benefit of a decade)

        • ssckelley

          BH did not respond to anyone in particular and Brett did not mention Pujols in this article. What am I missing? The only ripping I see on Pujols is the contract he got from the Angels. If Pujols does not rebound that contract he got is going to look horrible. The only real comparison to Trout is they both are going to end up making about the same amount of money, 1 will probably end up being under paid while the other is being over paid.

  • NorthSideIrish

    Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal 40s
    Trout breakdown with #Angels: $5M signing bonus, $5.25M, $15.25M, $19.25M, $33.25M, $33.25M, $33.25M. Full no-trade.

    Contract really escalates once Hamilton and Wilson are off the books…

    • ssckelley

      Again smart move by the Angels.

    • roz

      Those are also his first three free agent gets right? I would hope the money escalates then.

  • Illini Cubbie Fan

    Great move by both sides. Who’s to say that Trout doesn’t have a career ending injury in the next few years?

  • Illini Cubbie Fan

    With that being said, I wonder if Trout could have commanded 10 years $500 million at age 26 if he continued to produce at similar levels throughout the next few years……

    • ssckelley

      He still might at the age of 29.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Believe it doesn’t include no trade and thus don’t be shocked if Yankees are paying his salary towards end of deal if not sooner as Angels cannot afford this even if a ” steal” … Just locking him in so can be dealt easier if need to rebuild and dump salary in a few years

    • FullCountTommy

      Rosenthal reported it includes full no trade

  • Diehardthefirst

    Angels aren’t going to disclose that and least of all to him

    • FullCountTommy

      Doesn’t have to come from the angels, other people like his agent know he details of the contract

      • bbmoney

        Or someone from the MLB or the players association as well. Since both those parties need to review and approve the deal.

    • gocatsgo2003

      Really? You don’t think guys get a chance to, I don’t know, read the contract before they sign it?

    • Brocktoon

      Haha, yeah, why would a player know the details of his contract?

  • Dustin S

    This one makes more sense than the Cabrera one IMO. It’s good for everyone involved really, Trout can start living like a star, he’ll still bank huge in FA, and it probably saves the Angels some money in the long-term.

    When I see the contracts like Cabrera’s that lock up guys until they are 40 with the “I’ll finish my career with x team” promise, it usually seems to be the home team getting blinded with past performance. Look at a list of top 10-20-30 players 5 or 10 years ago and it’s not a big number of them that are still performing at the same level they were. I understand the economics if they player continues to perform, even with a little drop-off in older years factored in. But talk about a risk. I just think of Zito, Hampton, (maybe) Pujols, etc. when I see these where a bad huge long-term contract can strangle a team for years. I worry about Cabrera less than most, but that’s a long time to keep that same level of performance.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Since they signed pujols, the angels added Hamilton on a 100 mil. Plus contract, and locked up trout for 3 added seasons. Strangle a team?
    By the way, pujols looks really good this spring.

  • sklucke

    I’m sorry I didn’t know trout won a MVP award. Maybe you guys should stop crying and applaud cabrera for being one of the best hitters this game has ever seen.

    • Karl Groucho

      What about people who are doing both?


    • DocPeterWimsey

      Best hitter? Yes. Most valuable player? No. Those are, after all, two different (if correlated) statements.