PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – The first news of the 12-year contract extension of Mike Trout, worth $ 430 million, with the Angels has been circulating rapidly through the Mets club house on Tuesday morning, like a locker fire . The players first slid the phones, then looked up, with incredible smiles on their faces.
"It's 100 million more than Bryce!" One screamed.
Indeed. Bryce Harper's record for the largest free-agent contract in any sport lasted 17 days, counting from the date the Phillies officially announced their $ 13 million 13 million contract. Some might even go so far as to claim that Harper was indirectly responsible for Trout's triumph, as one of the first things he did with a Phillies uniform suggested that he twice recruit MVP to return east to play for his hometown team.
The Angels were furious with Harper's tampering, and they didn't wait long to crush further secret recruitment attempts. Trout, a native of Millville, NJ, was not set to hit the free agency until after the 2020 season. But speculation about his future had already started in earnest, and Trout was at the center of a number of clubs. from the deep holes, with the Yankees who believed they were among them.
The unique guarantee of Trout's future was that he would surely surpass any previous contract. The only question was how much.
The answer came on Tuesday, when ESPN reported for the first time that Angels and Trout had agreed to extend the $ 430 million, a contract that gives them the record for both total payment and value annual average (AAV) at $ 35.8 million. Zack Greinke of the Diamondbacks had owned the highest AAV ($ 34.4 million) since he signed his $ 206.5 million six-year contract before the 2016 season.
Trout, only 27 years old, has been universally considered the best sports player since his first full season in 2012, when he won the title of debutante of the American League of the year and was the second MVP to vote for Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers. Since then, Trout has won the MVP twice (2014, & # 39; 16) and placed second three times. His worst finish was the fourth, having played only 114 games in 2017 due to a torn ligament in his thumb.
Still, Trout has yet to win a playoff game with the Angels, who have just passed the three-500 seasons during his eight-year tenure. They won 98 games in 2014, then were swept away by the Royals in the division series.
None of these was Trout's fault, of course. Trout is a .309 career hitter who averages 30 homers, 81 RBI and 24 bases stolen with a .990 OPS. It is unparalleled when it comes to overall performance, as the most complete player in the game, and its 64.3 WAR has eclipsed any player in history up to the age of 26.
With any statistical measure, Trout deserves to be the highest paid baseball player, yet he is not considered to be one of the most bankable stars in the game, like an Aaron Judge or Mookie Betts. Much of this has to do with the Angels, as the team he plays for is second to the Dodgers in the Southern California market and often can't be seen on TV on the east coast until 10 pm. or later.
Furthermore, Trout is widely regarded as a player who does not seek the spotlight, a low-profile player who has even criticized Commissioner Rob Manfred at the 2017 All-Star Game for not doing enough to pump up the popularity of the sport . The trout responded in the way everyone expected.
"I'm not a petty guy and I'd really encourage everyone to move forward," Trout said in a statement. "Everything is beautiful between the Commissioner and myself. End of story. I'm ready to play baseball !!"
From a financial point of view, however, Trout's profile has skyrocketed with Tuesday's agreement, as well as changing the offseason narrative about the owners who shut the cash tap in baseball. Trout follows Harper, Manny Machado (10 years, $ 300 million) and Nolan Arenado (eight years, $ 260 million) as the biggest off-season winners with a week still to be done in the spring.