(Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim had to be worried about their prized jewel Mike Trout after Miguel Cabrera signed his eight-year $248 million extension on top of his two years and $44 million on his current contract. Cabrera’s extension and total of $292 million over 10 years makes the biggest contract in baseball history.
At one time people talked about Trout soaring past that figure at just 22 years old, and some GM’s suggested Trout to be the first $400 million man. One day he still may top Cabrera’s figures, but for now a six-year, $144.5 million extension to the $1 million he will make this year will have to do for Trout. He is now signed through 2020 with the club.
Trout, the best overall player in baseball the past two years, becomes the first player with less than three years of service time to receive a contract worth more than $20 million annually. The Angels have to love this contract, and it makes plenty of sense for both parties.
At just 22, Trout has hit .314 with 62 home runs and 86 stolen bases to go along with a 20.3 WAR (Baseball Reference’s WAR). He has accumulated more WAR through his 21-year-old season than anybody in the history of baseball — ever. The two biggest comparisons right now for Trout are Ken Griffey Jr. and Mickey Mantle for his dominant ability with the bat and glove at such a young age. Through their age 22-28 seasons, Mickey Mantle produced 60.9 WAR and Junior 50. 1 WAR. That’s good news for the Angels as both phenoms were highly productive even with injuries. The risk of injury is easily worth the reward with Trout’s skill set.
For the Angels this was a successful signing at the right time with their star. Trout wouldn’t have been a free agent until after the 2017 season, but locking him up now avoids what would have been some wild arbitration hearings. Avoiding a ridiculous contract like the one the Angels already gave to Albert Pujols also shows they are finally learning. They could have easily gave him a ludicrous contract that would have smashed Cabrera’s record, but instead they made Trout very rich and happy for what is actually a discount for a 22 year-old.
Some people will argue with Trout and his agent, saying he shouldn’t have taken a deal so soon and shattered contract records for the ages instead. For Trout, he made the type of money at the age of most broke college seniors, that will set him and his family up for life. That is a deal he simply couldn’t turn down. Now, Trout is set to be a free agent at just 29 years old. If he continues the record-breaking seasons he already has, Trout can definitely sign for much more than Cabrera just did.
Will the new contract put pressure on Trout? Not according to him as he said at his press conference, “Nah,” Trout said, smiling from ear-to-ear. “I’m relieved, man. I’m going to play loose. It’s going to be fun.”