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.
For a long time now, the American League East has been regarded as the toughest division in Major League Baseball. It’s a real clash of the giants. The mammoth Boston Red Sox, who have won four championships over the last 14 years, battle their hated rivals, the monolithic New York Yankees, who have won 27 championships in their history, the most of any MLB team. The American League, for a long time now, has been dominated by the East. Consider that the team with the worst record in baseball last year, the Orioles, play in the AL East. They won only 47 games. It was open season in Birdland, and the other teams in the division took advantage.
As someone who has wasted hundreds of dollars buying lottery tickets, I’ve always asked myself if I would take the annuity or the lump sum. Sure having the millions laid out in a bed and rolling around in them like a pig sounds like a wonderful afternoon, but is it worth the stability of having a couple hundred thousand a year for 30 years?
Preview: The Braves are coming off of a 90-win season in which they won the NL East. With the return of All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman and young studs Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies, as well as the addition of Josh Donaldson, the Braves have the opportunity to repeat. However, it won’t be easy as the Phillies and Mets have both improved this offseason and the Nationals still have one of the best pitching rotations in all of baseball. The Braves lineup returns basically everybody, it only improved with Josh Donaldson. Donaldson only played in 52 games last season, but he has proved over the years to be a threat at the plate. He will takeover third base this year in Atlanta and likely be hitting somewhere in the middle of the order. Also in the middle of the order for the Braves will be Freddie Freeman who put together an MVP-caliber season in 2018 with a .309 BA, 23 HRs, and 98 RBIs. Maybe the most exciting player returning to the Braves lineup is reigning NL ROY, Ronald Acuna Jr. Acuna batted .293 with 26 HRs and posted a .917 OPS in his rookie season, establishing himself as one of, if not the most exciting young player in baseball. Starting pitching isn’t Atlanta’s biggest strength, but they are an underrated group in my opinion. All four returning starters had an ERA of less than 4.00 last season. One of those four is Mike Foltynewicz who had a breakout season in 2018 posting a 2.85 ERA in 31 starts. Atlanta will be eager to see how former first round pick Touki Toussaint pitches this season. The 22 year old right-hander posted a 4.03 ERA last year in 29 IP. Toussaint could help solidify the starting rotation on a contending team. A fully healthy Arodys Vizcaino returns to the Braves bullpen on a one year deal. Vizcaino is the favorite to be the closer, but LHP A.J. Minter is also a closer candidate after a solid 2018 season in which he had 15 saves. Relievers Johnny Venters, Jesse Biddle, and Danny Winkler also return to the Braves bullpen after impressive 2018 seasons along with veteran Darren O’Day. The Braves may not be the NL East favorites anymore after the Phillies’ Bryce Harper acquisition, but they very well could crash the Philly bandwagon party and take the NL East pennant again.