Mike Trout

USA Today

Mike Trout Is A Happy Man

There have been a lot of days where it’s been a good day to be Mike Trout.

March 19, 2019 - 9:37 am

There have been a lot of days where it’s been a good day to be Mike Trout. When you’re the greatest baseball player in decades, and on the path to being one of the greatest to ever play the game, that happens. When you’ve won two MVPs and could’ve won another four, you’re going to run into a few nice days. And today is reportedly one of those days. Because Mike Trout just got paid.

Before the ink even dried on Bryce Harper’s 330 mill deal with the Phillies, the biggest question was: what would Mike Trout get when it’s his time. Could he go over 400 mill? And if he could, would he be getting that kind of money with his hometown team, the Phillies? The answer to the second part was, he certainly could.

Because Harper made it very clear that he would do everything he could to get Trout to Philadelphia. And the Phillies made it very clear that they would throw down when the time came.

Unfortunately for them, that time will never come. Because Mike Trout’s time just arrived. 

According to Jeff Passan, Mike Trout and the Angels have agreed to a 12 year deal worth 430 million dollars. I repeat: 430 million dollars. Closing in on half a bill.

Holy crap. Holy freaking crap. That is a bleepload of money. That breaks just about every record there is to break. That blows past Harper’s total deal by 100 mill. It reportedly gives Trout an annual salary of 36 mill, which blows past Zack Greinke’s record of 34.4 mill. And it goes past Canelo Alvarez’s contract with Da-Zone by 65 mill.

Technically, it’s a ten year extension on the remaining two years of his current deal, but who the hell cares?

Timing is everything and Trout’s timing was perfect. The thinking had been that he would wait to cash in as a free agent after the 2020 season, but he didn’t wait. I don’t know if Harper already making noise about his plans got this deal done faster, but there’s a good chance that Trout might want to chip Bryce off a couple bucks for helping to facilitate this deal.

Because in just a matter of weeks, Harper had already put a lot of pressure on the Angels to not only get a deal done, but to get it done quickly. Because the last thing LA wanted was for this to become a story for the next two years and then to lose Trout in the end.  Bottom line: The Angels didn't have a choice. You don't draft and develop the next Mickey Mantle and let the dude walk away in his prime.

That would be a backbreaker for the Angels. And there’s no way they could allow it, even if it means paying Trout crazy money when he’s 38.

It is an enormous deal. And the Angels absolutely had to do it. There is no way that you can have the best player not just of a generation, but of pretty much any generation, and then let him walk.

Just give him a blank check and let him fill it out. And that’s pretty much what the Angels did. And good for them. They had to. 

And is he worth it? Hell yes he’s worth. Could the Angels afford to do this deal? They couldn’t afford NOT to. You don’t need me to run down his stats to tell you how good he is. Is he going to be the same player in his late 30s? No. Hell no. And the next decade-long contract where the player is still worth the same money at the end as at the beginning will be the first.

But this contract isn’t about that for the Angels. This contract is about making a statement as an organization.

If they let him go to Philadelphia, they might as well have just packed up and shut down the Angels. They had to make this deal. And if that means paying a premium to get it done now and shut the conversation down before it starts, good.

And now here’s the other thing they have to do: win.

Not just for them, but for the entire sport. And not because you have to win trophies to justify that kind of contract. But because the sport needs it.

I don’t want to put more pressure on them than they already have, but baseball needs Mike Trout playing primetime games in October. They need him on the biggest stage. And so far, he’s been to the playoffs once in his career. And was swept when he got there.

LeBron James has been to the Finals eight straight years. Tom Brady is the Super Bowl pretty much every year. The biggest names need to be on the biggest stages.

Forget not making the Finals this year, it’s a freaky anomaly that LeBron isn’t in the playoffs this year. Now imagine if that was happening every year. That’s Mike Trout and the Angels.

That’s not an indictment of Trout or his greatness. Baseball is different from basketball and football. One guy cannot carry a team by himself in baseball. He needs a roster full of talent to get there.

So this isn’t about blaming Mike Trout, it’s about saying that Trout, the Angels, and Major League Baseball all need him to be on the biggest stage. Because right now, the greatest player in the game could walk into just about any living room outside SoCal and nobody would recognize him. And that’s not on him. That’s not Trout’s fault. 

Step one for the Angels was signing Trout to the extension. Step two is surrounding him with the talent to get to the playoffs.

The Angels couldn’t afford to lose Mike Trout. Major League Baseball can’t afford to miss out on Mike Trout.