Article by: Justin Imler
News broke out this morning that the Los Angeles Angels and CF Mike Trout were in the process of finalizing a contract extension that would be worth a whopping $430 million over 12 years. This news took the whole sports world by surprise, and this extension would be the largest contract in SPORTS HISTORY by a long shot. The current largest contract in baseball was signed just a few weeks ago by free agent right fielder Bryce Harper, who signed with the Philadelphia Phillies on a 13-year $330 million contract. Trout and Harper’s contracts do have something in common however in that Trout’s also has no opt outs, meaning that Trout is guaranteed to be tied to the Angels for the entire length of the contract.
But now the question still remains, is Trout making the right move by committing to the Angels for what will most likely be the rest of his career? Let’s just get the obvious out of the way first, the world needs to see Mike Trout in the postseason. This entire topic is just extremely bizarre. Mike Trout has been the clear-cut best player in baseball since 2013, and has three, that’s right, THREE playoff games to show for it. These three games came back in the 2014 season when the Angels got swept by the Kansas City Royals in the Divisional Round, and Trout has not seen the postseason since.
This just shows how much of a team sport baseball is in comparison to sports like basketball. One star can’t carry a team to a playoff run, you need several pieces in place to create a legitimate World Series threat. This idea is what brings on my main concern for Trout choosing to stay with the Angels. With this new deal it seems like the Angels will be stuck. Yes, they got the best player in baseball to finish his career in LA, but how are you supposed to be able to build a team around him? The Angels have done nothing in the last few years to do so, finishing at an average 80-82 record the last two seasons. Not to mention with this massive extension, how will they be able to pay out other big-time free agents to join Trout if they couldn’t make any moves before?
At the end of the day, you can’t blame the Angels for doing whatever they needed to do to keep Trout in LA, but I think I speak for everyone when I say I’m absolutely shocked Trout didn’t at least test the waters of free agency come 2020. There has been a lot of speculation that Trout had interest in joining Bryce Harper in Philadelphia, thus making them an instant World Series favorite for years to come. Others also predicted the Yankees to be a prime candidate to land the once in a generation talent. We knew if Trout would hit the market, he would be granted a record-breaking contract, but it’s tough to say now if any teams interested would have offered $400+ million like the Angels did. Maybe this is what caused Trout make this decision before he hit the market. I’ll never blame a professional athlete for going after the money. However, at the same time, I would want to win as well. So, if I could join a top tier franchise to constantly compete for a championship, but have to take slightly less money to do so, that’s probably the route I would take.
For myself though I’m not mad or angry at Trout for this decision, I’m just disappointed. Trout has been my favorite player since he entered the big leagues, and I’ve always rooted for the Angels to make some moves and to get into the playoffs, but they simply can’t get over that .500 hump. I would’ve loved to see Trout test free agency and maybe even sign to another high market franchise such as the ones mentioned above. Unless you’re an Angels fan, I think we can all agree that Mike Trout consistently being in the postseason would be a gift that keeps on giving.
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