Back on March 28th, 2014, the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim took something very cool away from all of us: a Mike Trout free agent sweepstakes.
With one swipe of a pen (and $144 million), the Angels locked up baseball’s best player to a six-year deal lasting through the 2020 season. So, at best, we have another two full seasons to play through before we can begin dreaming on that free agent bonanza in earnest – if you think Bryce Harper and Manny Machado’s impending trip through free agency is going to be nuts, just wait until you see what happens with Trout. That is, if it happens.
Despite recent rumblings that the Angles would/should consider dealing Trout thanks to Shohei Ohtani’s need for Tommy John surgery, among other factors, the Angels might not agree. According to Jon Heyman, the Angels are expected to try to make 27-year-old Mike Trout an Angel for life as soon as *this winter.* Wowza.
Now, Trout is already the highest paid position player in baseball (on an annual rate), thanks to his $33.25M/year salary, a figure he’ll receive in each of the next two seasons. But this offseason might actually be a good time for him to sign an extension. As I mentioned, two of Trout’s peers (well, he has no peers, but you understand), Harper and Machado, are in place to set new records for free agent contracts, and however much they get on their deals would almost have to be considered a floor for Trout – even if his is an extension and theirs will come via a full trip into free agency.
Considering that all three are around the same age and Harper/Machado are routinely pegged for $300M+ deals over roughly ten years, you have to assume a contract for Trout would be massive in a record-setting way, as well. What, like, 15 years and $500 million? I can’t even imagine.
With that said, money isn’t everything – especially for a super-star who’s already earned at least $144M, lives on the opposite side of the country from his original home, and has been to the postseason only once in seven years with the Angels. Indeed, competitiveness is reportedly Trout’s primary concern, and the loss of Ohtani is an obvious blow to the Angels’ chances next season. All of which makes me wonder if we might see the Angels load up on talent via free agency this winter, just to prove to Trout why it’s worth sticking around – but that’s just a guess.
Of course, that presents a bit of a problem. The Angels will want to spend money in free agency only if they know they can keep Trout around, but they might not know if they can keep Trout around unless they spend money in free agency first. And if Trout is dead-set on waiting until after Harper and Machado sign, well, you can see how the timing becomes tricky.
Worse, if the Angels are unable to ink an extension with Trout this winter and Ohtani really can’t pitch next summer, they might just have to consider changing course and accepting whatever HAUL of established big league stars and top prospects they can net in the trade market – but that’s a step down the line.
For now, just be prepared to enjoy the Manny Machado and Bryce Harper madness to its fullest, because we might not get Trout in free agency if the Angels have their way. More at Fancred Sports.