After 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.