Mike Trout, King of Trade Value Now and Forever

According to Alden Gonzalez, the Angels and Mike Trout are close to finalizing a six year contract that will pay Trout $144.5 mlilion over the 2015-2020 seasons.

Those six years cover Trout’s three arbitration eligible seasons and his first three free agent seasons. Instead of hitting free agency after his age-25 season, he’ll play for the Angels through at least his age-28 season.

You don’t need another 1,500 word explanation of why this is a hilarious steal for the Angels. Trout would have made something like $50 to $60 million in arbitration had he gone year to year, so the Angels are basically getting three free agent years for $85 to $95 million. This doesn’t come anywhere near Trout’s value, and Trout has left an enormous amount of money on the table. Even if his goal was to reach free agency again and sign a second monstrous contract, he still is worth so far more than the roughly $30 million per year he signed away three free agent years for.

It’s very possible that Trout simply doesn’t care about maximizing his career earnings, or that he didn’t want the pressure of a precedent setting contract. $140 million is enough money that Trout will never have to worry about his financial well being again — to be realistic, though, he passed that point a while ago — and it certainly is Trout’s right to sign whatever deal he wants.

But Mike Trout has basically secured the #1 spot on the Trade Value series for the next four or five years. There’s no contract in baseball that will provide more return for the price than this contract. There’s no contract that will even come particularly close. A day after Miguel Cabrera reminded everyone of just how much money baseball teams have, Mike Trout took a deal for a fraction of his actual value. Good for him, if he’s happy. And great for the Angels. So great for the Angels.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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