Mike Trout is positioning himself for a huge contract, one that should top $100 million and could push $200 million if he is willing to sign for nine or 10 years, but neither the star outfielder nor the Angels are in any hurry to make a deal.
“I’ll answer one question on contract talks — there have been no discussions,” said Craig Landis, Trout’s agent. “Obviously, Mike’s future is extremely bright. We’ll be patient. Mike’s a young guy. However it goes, he’s going to make a lot of money and be a great player.”
Despite going nine for 53 (.170) in his last 15 games, including the Angels’ 3-0 win over Oakland on Tuesday night, Trout, 22, is batting .324 this season with a .431 on-base percentage, .557 slugging percentage, 26 home runs, 92 runs batted in and an American League-leading 108 runs and 105 walks.
A unanimous choice for AL rookie of the year and the most valuable player runner-up in 2012, Trout will again challenge for the MVP award.
The Angels renewed Trout’s contract for $510,000 — $20,000 over the major league minimum — in March, a hard-line stance that didn’t sit well with Landis or fans who fear Trout might feel animosity toward the team and bolt as a free agent after 2017.
“It was one of those things where they own you, they can do whatever they want, and you have to accept it,” Trout said. “Everyone goes through it. I’m waiting patiently. My time will come.”
The Angels can dictate Trout’s pay in 2014, as well, but when Trout is eligible for arbitration in 2015, his salary will jump to the $10-million range.
Of playing in Anaheim, Trout said, “I love it here. I love the guys, my teammates, the coaches. It’s a great place to play.”
But in answering a question about returning to New Jersey this off-season to live with his parents, Trout hinted he is open to playing elsewhere.
“It’s about time to start looking for a house,” Trout said. “I’m trying to see what direction my career takes me. Do I want to buy a house out here or some other place?”
There is no financial incentive for the Angels to secure Trout to a long-term deal now. If they did, the average annual value of that contract, which could top $20 million, would immediately count toward the team’s luxury-tax payroll. By waiting two years, Trout would not take up nearly as much luxury-tax payroll.
“Mike is going to play hard, let the chips fall where they may and not look too far down road,” said Jeff Trout, Mike’s father. “We just want him to get paid what he’s worth.”