Should the Angels go ahead and lock up Mike Trout for the remainder of his career?
Mike Trout is the best baseball player on the planet. There is not much debate around that. In his seven full seasons, he is a two-time MVP, seven-time All-Star, and amassed a total 63.8 WAR. He is indescribably good at this whole baseball thing. With that in mind, what type of contract do you give a player like that? That is the question the Angels are reportedly trying to answer this offseason.
Trout signed a contract extension in 2014 that made him an Angel through the 2020 season. The Angels want to give Trout his second contract extension to make him an “Angel for life” despite his current contract lasting another two seasons. Given the Angels have only made the playoffs once in Trout’s career, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea.
The Angels lack of success has many reporters hoping the Angels trade Trout for prospects. An Angels team that hasn’t reached the postseason since 2014 would likely rebuild as a result. While the idea of getting two or three good players out of one generational player sounds reasonable, history proves otherwise.
When Ken Griffey Jr. was traded from the Seattle Mariners to the Cincinnati Reds at the turn of the millennia, MLB was shocked. Griffey had become restless with the Mariners inability to make the postseason. He only made the postseason twice as a Mariner, and only made it past the first round once. Griffey demanded a trade as a result of this and the organization’s reluctance to pay him. His request was granted and he was sent to Cincinnati for Jake Meyer, Antonio Perez, Brett Tomko, and Mike Cameron.
When the deal was official, many viewed the Mariners as getting pennies on the dollar for their star player. While the team went on to have the best regular season ever two years after the trade, the players the Mariners received were insignificant at best. Meyer never played in the majors and Perez never played for Seattle. In fact, Perez was part of a trade that sent the Mariners manager, Lou Piniella, to the Tampa Bay Rays. While Tomko did play for the Mariners, he had a 4.82 ERA in 127 innings for Seattle.
Cameron was the only player in the trade that made an impact for Seattle. He was an All-Star in 2001 and two-time gold glover for the Mariners. In the end, the Mariners got one good player for Ken Griffey Jr. While injuries limited Griffey’s time in Cincinnati, he still hit 210 home runs in his nine years there.
This trade is the most infamous deal in the last 20 years. It was caused by a superstar wanting to be paid in the prime of their career, and an organization that only made the playoffs a handful of times. The situation forced the organization to take a deal that brought one good player to their team. The Angel’s future could look a lot like this.
The organization and GM Billy Eppler know this, which is why they want a deal now before it is too late. If a deal can get done this offseason, the Angels can focus on other needs of the team. Trout’s deal will likely be the richest deal in MLB history, similar to Giancarlo Stanton’s deal in 2014.
At the time, Stanton’s 13 years, $325 million dollar deal was the richest deal in MLB history. The Marlins committed $25 million per year for a player who missed 176 games in five years. Trout’s deal will be significantly more than Stanton’s and will likely mirror a different superstar’s potential deal.
Trout will likely mirror what Bryce Harper’s deal will be in free agency. While Harper and Trout have had different careers, they have always been compared, and their contracts will be no exception. Harper could be the first player to make $40 million over ten years. If Harper makes that type of money, Trout could demand more. Even with nearly $40 million per year committed to one player, the Angels should pay Trout.
A Mike Trout contract will cost a lot of money for the Angels, however, Trout has brought something Anaheim has been missing since 2009, a legitimate superstar. The Angels have the best player in baseball, and whatever money he wants, the Angels should pay it without question.
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.