Mike Trout signed a six-year extension with the Los Angeles Angels in 2014, but the deal could have been for much longer.
Even when he’s been out injured for weeks, we still want to talk about Mike Trout. And considering he is the consensus best player in baseball, why not? The latest intriguing bit of information concerning the superstar center fielder pertains to his contract negotiations with the Los Angeles Angels prior to the start of the 2014 season.
We know that Trout and the Halos came to terms on a six-year, $144.5 million extension at the time, but the deal could have apparently run much longer. His entire career, in fact. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Angels discussed a 14- or 15-year contract with Trout before settling on the current pact which will take him through 2020 and his age-28 season.
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Contracts of that length – especially that early in a player’s career – are virtually unheard of in Major League Baseball. A recent exception would be the goliath 13-year, $325 million deal Giancarlo Stanton signed with the Marlins after the 2014 campaign. At a time when teams are becoming more wary of handing out long-term contracts, some still take that leap.
But it goes without saying that Trout is a special case. A once-in-a-lifetime talent that the Angels would be crazy to let go. Barring anything health-related, he is one of the few talents you would probably feel comfortable giving a massive deal, knowing he would likely remain highly productive throughout the course of the contract.
Now in his seventh big league season, Trout already has two MVP Awards under his belt and with three second-place finishes, he honestly could have more. He led the American League in runs scored in four of the last five years and owns a .310/.410/.564 slash line while averaging 33 home runs and 96 RBI over that span. Oh, and he’s still just 25 years old.
This revelation naturally puts forward the question of whether the Angels will try inking Trout to a mega-deal again. And the answer is, of course they will. A player like this doesn’t arrive on your doorstep every day (every decade, really) and the Halos should count themselves lucky to have him playing in their uniform. With the amount of money owner Arte Moreno threw at Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, no price tag should be too high for Mike Trout.
But will Trout want to work out another deal before the end of his current one? He could have easily not signed the first extension and hit free agency as early as possible, so the possibility of remaining in Anaheim presumably holds appeal to him. Players these days so rarely stay with one franchise for their entire careers. Trout’s legacy wouldn’t be affected much by relocation, but becoming an iconic Derek Jeter-type to the Angels would give him some extra distinction.
There is also the October elephant in the room: Trout has played a whopping total of three postseason games so far in his career. It seems downright ludicrous that he has barely had an opportunity to showcase himself on the game’s brightest stage, and you know that fans, the league and Trout himself are getting a bit restless.
The Angels’ ability to keep Trout for the rest of his career could largely depend on how they fare as a team over the next three seasons. If they demonstrate real progress, he could very well choose to sign on the dotted line. But if they continue to fall short with no end to the drought in sight, you could hardly blame Trout for turning his gaze elsewhere.
And while he has never seemed like a guy who’s in it for the money, it would be hard for Trout not to at least test the open market to see just how much teams are willing to offer a star of his caliber. The deals signed by Bryce Harper and Manny Machado after 2018 could be very eye-opening.