Wed. Apr 24th, 2019

Mike Trout: The Best Player Got the Best Contract

Jeff Passan sent out a tweet at 10:14 AM EST on a Tuesday afternoon in March, that stated Mike Trout and the Angels had agreed to a massive 12-year 430-million-dollar contract extension. Trout’s new contract became the biggest in professional sports history. There were a few reports of the Angels and Trout discussing contract extensions, but nothing really seemed to form until today. Let’s breakdown the contract and I’ll try to answer a few questions along the way.

  1. Is Mike Trout worth 430 million dollars?

Short answer, yes. Mike Trout has spent 7 seasons in the big leagues and he has been by far the best player in baseball during that time. In his career, Trout has amassed an incredible 64.9 fWAR. He has a career .417 wOBA and 172 wRC+. For reference, a wOBA over .400 for a season is considered excellent. He’s doing that for his career. His average WAR per season is right above 9 wins a season. Each win on average is worth about 8 to 9 million dollars a year. This value could go down soon though because of the way the market has been shaping up recently. Trout will be paid on 36 million dollars a year on average. If you go by what he should be worth, Trout should be making about 70 or 80 million dollars a year. According to the Ringer, Trout would be worth about 700-million-dollar contract extension using this same method. Trout is worth 430 million dollars and that shouldn’t be questioned.

  1. Can the Angels win with this Trout contract? 

In the first few years, most likely not. The team is still paying Albert Pujols for the next 3 years. They are paying a total of 66 million dollars on average to Trout and Pujols over the first 3 years. So, for the next few years, the Angels will not be in on any of the big free agents. However, the Angels have made a commitment to try and build up the farm system. With Trout and Ohtani now there for the foreseeable future, the building blocks for a strong franchise are there. 12 years is a long time, and the Angels have been able to remain in the playoff hunt for a few years. With some more pitching, the Angels might be able to make a push soon. Trout will produce during that contract, according to James Smyth, a sports researcher for YES, Trout will put up about an 85 WAR over the course of the next 12 years. That’s around the value that Chipper Jones had in his career. That’d give Trout a career of 150 WAR, which would put him just behind Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds in fWAR. Trout will continue to produce, it’s time for the rest of the team to try and produce as well.

  1. Are the No Opt-Outs good or bad? 

I think I’ll be in the minority when I say this, but any contract without an opt-out is a bad contract. Add on the no-trade clause, and the deal becomes terrible. Trout’s contract has both and that causes me to hesitate a lot on the contract. I understand how it’s a good thing for the player. Guaranteed money for the rest of your life is extremely appealing. Especially when it’s 430 million dollars. Yet, if the Angels don’t win or start to really struggle, Trout may grow increasingly frustrated being there. He could be traded in the way Stanton is traded, but the deeper Trout gets into that contract the less likely that happens. For the team, you’re stuck with a player who could be struggling. The Angels are already dealing with that issue in Albert Pujols. Trout is way better than Pujols was and much younger. Yet, it’s still a massive risk for a team.

  1. Who wins and who loses in this situation? 

Trout and the Angels are the obvious winners here. Despite my hesitations on the contract, Trout may prove to be the exception to how I feel about these types of contracts. Mookie Betts is another big winner in this situation. Betts now has a clearer picture at his asking price. He is the 2nd best player in baseball and if he wants an extension, between Arenado and Trout, Betts has more power than he did before. If he hits the free agent market at 28, it is still a good model because he is young enough and productive enough to be there. Aaron Judge is also a winner for the same reason. J.T Realmuto now can get more money from the Phillies that he may not have gotten before. Bryce Harper is the biggest loser here. A week after getting the biggest contract in sports history, Trout gets 100 million more over a shorter time. It also means Trout isn’t coming to the Phillies which hurts his “recruiting efforts”. Scott Boras is also a loser in this situation because he had been pushing for years that he was the guy to get players paid. With Trouts contract, Arenado’s contract, and Machado’s contract, that is becoming less and less of a reality.

  1. Is it a good or bad contract? 

Since we are talking about Mike Trout, it is a good contract. However, I have my hesitations that I listed before. The only way to really evaluate the contract is when the contract is over, and we are 12 years away from that. Good for Mike Trout, he deserved to get paid and he did.

Ringer Report on Trout (https://bit.ly/2TXAkIo)

James Smyth Trout information (https://bit.ly/2Y82xLT)

Mike Trout’s career numbers (https://bit.ly/2JpnnDe)

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