Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels finally agreed to terms on a six-year contract extension on Friday night. Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com was the first to report a deal was near, noting the financials would be in the $140 million range.
The deal will go into effect for the 2015 season, meaning Trout will play under the $1 million contract he agreed to for 2014. It does not include an opt out clause, but there is a full no-trade clause.
Extension talks have been on-going since late February, according to Yahoo's Jeff Passan, with a rumored deal approaching $150 million being discussed at that point. Most baseball analysts, including Fangraph's Dave Cameron, considered that amount a steal for the Angels. The fact he ended up taking even less leaves Cameron only to scratch his head in response.
You don’t need another 1,500 word explanation of why this is a hilarious steal for the Angels. Trout would have made something like $50 to $60 million in arbitration had he gone year to year, so the Angels are basically getting three free agent years for $85 to $95 million. This doesn’t come anywhere near Trout’s value, and Trout has left an enormous amount of money on the table. Even if his goal was to reach free agency again and sign a second monstrous contract, he still is worth so far more than the roughly $30 million per year he signed away three free agents for.
Similar sentiments have been echoed in the aftermath of the Angels announcement. Especially on the heels of Miguel Cabrera agreeing on a ten-year, $282 extension with the Detroit Tigers. MVP voters may not concur, but Trout's value has seemingly already surpassed Cabrera's, and at just 22 there's still room for him to develop. The deal is a steal now, and by the time it runs out it could be highway robbery.
That said, there's no reason to feel bad for Trout. He's obviously happy with the security the deal gives him, otherwise he wouldn't have signed it. Trout's average salary will be far and away higher than any other player with less than three years service time, so he's still being rewarded handsomely. And he's still in line to cash in again following his age 28 season, as the current deal buys out his arbitration years and his first three years of free agency.
Basically, it's Mike Trout's world, and he was free to approach this contract anyway he wanted to. Squeezing every last dollar out of the Angels wasn't the direction he wanted to go, much to their relief, so he gets the money and the security now and goes back to focusing on baseball, probably without blinking an eye.
If only life and all of its decisions were that easy for the rest of us.
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