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Angels, Mike Trout hoping for a multi-year extension by the start of the season

Feb 13, 2014, 8:19 AM EDT

Mike Trout

Pop quiz, hot shot: you have the best player in all of baseball on your team, one year away from arbitration eligibility. If he hits arbitration he’s going to get insanely expensive because there literally are no comps for him in recent history. If he gets close to free agency, dudes, forget it, he’s making over $300 million. What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?!

Well, you sign him to an extension before you lose all your leverage, that’s what. And it’s what, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels are trying to do with Mike Trout by the start of the 2014 regular season.

DiGiovanna says that the Angels may, as is their right with a pre-arbitration player, simply renew his deal with a raise set at their discretion. That’s what happened last year, giving Trout a salary far short of a million bucks despite an MVP-caliber season. It stings, but that’s the system. This year, however, it shouldn’t sting as the sides will be negotiating for that long-term deal simultaneously. Important to note that any such extension would most likely be announced on Opening Day or after. For if one is reached before then, his salary counts against the Angels’ salary figures for luxury tax/revenue sharing purposes in 2014, if announced after, it doesn’t count until 2015.

Trout’s first two full seasons are historically good. He’s hit .324/.416/.560 with 57 homers, 180 RBI and 82 stolen bases since the beginning of the 2012 season. Add elite defense and baserunning to that equation — and figure that he’s only 22 — and you have a recipe for the highest paid player in baseball sometime soon. If the Angels can lock him up through his arbitration years and for part of his free agency at a below market rate, they should do it immediately if not sooner.

  1. jarathen - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    This is the best news I’ve heard all day. I know it’s early, but still. DO THIS, ANGELS.

    I would be very happy to be able to enjoy Mike Trout’s prime. I would LOVE seeing him get a ginormous extension that covers the rest of his playing career (if not natural life), but hey, years of agreeable status and no sniping about paltry raises would be nice.

  2. big64d - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:32 AM

    Its a shame that ESPN would rather slobber over the average stats Bryce Harper puts up instead of the talking about Mike Trout.

    • Charles Gates - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      What’s ESPN?

    • gothapotamus90210 - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:41 AM

      you mad bro?

    • hep3 - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      East Coast bias.

      • jcracc - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        completely east coast bias ….although Colin Cowherd does discuss him more then Harper

  3. gothapotamus90210 - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:41 AM

    11 yrs / 210

    2014-2017 (in millions): 2, 10, 14, 18

    2018-2024: AAV of 23M/season

    2025: $25M team option, $5M buyout

    Before you lambaste me, keep in mind he’s 4 years away from FA right now. Getting any guaranteed money would require him to take a discount on what his current FA value would be right now. I don’t think it’s plausible for him to get a $300M contract with his current service time.

    • jarathen - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:43 AM

      I don’t see Trout dying to hit the open market in what we all recognize is the start of natural decline. I could see the Angels snatching up his age 28 and 29 seasons, but unless they go full-bore into his 30s, I see Trout wanting to test the market again before he starts to age out of his prime.

  4. jm91rs - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    Man if I’m Mike Trout I’m not giving them any of my free agent years. This guy is in line to hit a record contract, and if he gets it early enough and does it with the right early opt-out terms he can repeat it a few years later. If he likes playing for the Angels, he can still resign with them, just wait until he has some more leverage.
    Obviously it’s got to be tough for a kid to turn down millions now, but hopefully his agent and family have him thinking long term. He owes the Angels no favors, just like they owed him no major raise after his incredible rookie year.

    • stex52 - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:24 AM

      It kind of depends on what his goals are. If he wants to be very, very rich and take no gambles on possible injuries, then he should go ahead and lock in his career for something in the nine figures range. At that point, his grandchildren will be wealthy so why should he worry? But if he is one of the many who seem to relate max salary to proving that they are the best player, then he can go your route.

      I’m a pretty easy-going guy. Option A looks just fine to me. But I don’t know that much about Trout.

      • jm91rs - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:27 AM

        I doubt there are too many 22 year olds that have any fear of injury. It should be a factor in his decision, but at that age we were all pretty invincible.

      • stex52 - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:39 AM

        Good point. But there is also the point of knowing you are rich for life right now. It worked with Longoria. We will see what drives Trout.

      • rashadjordan - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:14 AM

        I hear you stex, but the money is relative… regardless his next contract should set his family up for life (if it’s a $100M or $400M), but it goes beyond that… just like Cano said of the Yankees “they disrespected me (with their measly $170M offer)”. Getting paid at the top of one’s profession when you have proven yourself worthy is a sign of respect and shows how that organization values you… that doesn’t matter if you’re a CFO or the best toilet boil cleaner in town. So I could understand taking a little less than market value if that means securing his future, but let’s say they try to give him a 10 year $220 million contract… that would be far below his market value, when I’m sure another team would give him over $300 million. I saw another article saying that a top agent that doesn’t represent Trout would ask for 12 years $400 million, which quite frankly isn’t too farfetched, even though I doubt very seriously he would get that without actually hitting free agency.

        If I was Trout you wouldn’t peak my interest unless you got into that $23-25Million a year area on no longer than 7 year contract (eating two of my free agency years). If you want me to sign a really long term deal give me a 10 year deal over $300M.

    • pappageorgio - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      I dunno….I think he has to strike while the iron is hot. You never know what is going to happen.

      We’ve all seen guys have freak injuries and never return to be the same player. We’ve all seen guys who hit a certain age and their body just falls apart, and you never know when that is going to be. Some guys hold up great into their 40’s, some guys fall apart at 24 years old. Stuff happens.

      Trout has been a great player over the last few years and certainly shows no signs of slowing down or being injury prone……but would any of you turn down a guaranteed 10-15 per year on a chance of getting that number to 25 in 4 years if everything goes perfectly? He gets to live in S Cali and work for a big market team in a city flush with sponsorship and hot blondes.

      A bird in the hand…..

    • unclearnie - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:53 PM

      Tony Conigliaro, need I say more?

    • judahbenhur - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:56 PM

      Hey, Mr. Greedy, Mike Trout is not a video game. A blown out knee, or other such injury could alter his career in a heartbeat. Why would anyone turn down a 12 year 300 million dollar deal? Mix in endorsements and you’re talking about a guarantee of 500 million. Invest in real estate and the guy is looking at being worth a billion dollars before he’s 40– guaranteed. There are no guarantees he will produce for the Angels for all 12 years. Does he eat better with 400 million? What if he renews for one million and is in a car accident and hurts his back– now he can’t play? What then? Take the money and don’t be greedy.

  5. seahawks80 - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    I’m not an Angels fan but he is the best player in baseball and if there anyone that deserves a 10 year deal it’s Trout.

  6. themuddychicken - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    I don’t blame the angels, but the part of me that likes to see chaos was really looking forward to seeing what he would command on the open market once he got there.

    • jarathen - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      “Trout Signs For Until He Retires, All The Moneys”

  7. chiadam - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    I normally think no smart GM would go over three years for a pitcher and five years for a position player, but Trout is the exception. He’s the best in the business at 22. I spent my 22nd birthday getting drunk and trying to climb the sign at Dave and Busters.

  8. favrewillplay4ever - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    If I were Trout, I wouldn’t settle for anything over 4 years, or under 100 million. I know the Halos were doing business, but after giving him less than 1 million for a darn near MVP season, I’d be looking to make up for them being cheap.

    I get that he’s one injury away from never playing again and losing out of his financial freedom for life ticket so that does have to weigh heavily with him as well.

    Any word on Trout getting an insurance policy yet like college football players at the top of the talent pool do before being draft eligible?

    • jarathen - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:31 AM

      Considering he’s under team control, asking for sky-high rates for arb years would be exceptionally stupid.

    • yahmule - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leverage

    • judahbenhur - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      Do you understand Trout doesn’t get to free Agency for 5 years (4 more seasons)? The Angels can renew him for 500,000 this year. As for arbitration, yes he will set records, but he’s looking at 10-15 million per season for those three arbitration years– that’s 30-45 million– and it’s predicated on Trout performing as he has his first two years. If he hurts a hamstring and misses a chunk of the season and his overall numbers decrease he won’t even get that. Why would the Angels give him three times what they have to and then turn him loose to free agency? No, the way it works is that he gets more money than he would for these four controllable years, and for that the Angels get him for less in what would be his free agency years. Sober up.

  9. genericcommenter - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    He’s worth, what- about $55 million a year now?

  10. favrewillplay4ever - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    jarathen… How do you figure? The Angels offering the paltry salary for his darn near MVP season was the in advisable choice. With that choice, it would burn many other players good will towards his employer.

    This is a negotiation for his salary. Would the Angels not offer a lower salary than they are willing to pay at first in the hopes of negotiating towards a salary under their “max”?

    Let me ask you this. If Trout gets hurt tomorrow and is never able to play again.. Will the Angels still fork over the 200+ million dollar contract he’d receive on the open market?

    Better yet, what happens if Trout gets hurt in a game and is never able to play again?

    It is in Trouts best interest to get the most he can while he still can.

    • jarathen - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      It definitely is in his best interest to maximize his cut. But he also doesn’t hold all the cards, since he’s an Angel for several years yet whether they offer him a raise or not.

    • stex52 - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      You are sounding very much like a football fan here. It happens in baseball, and shouldn’t be completely ignored in a guy’s calculations. But it just isn’t the risk that it is in football.

    • yahmule - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:47 AM

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leverage

  11. schmedley69 - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    The kid wants to return home and play for his Phillies, so the Angels are just keeping him warm until he hits free agency anyway.

    • echech88 - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      But the Phillies won’t be interested until he’s like 35 years old anyway so there’s no harm there from the Angels’ perspective.

      • schmedley69 - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:15 PM

        Hahahahahaha!! A joke about the Phillies be old! Haven’t heard any of those on this site.

  12. favrewillplay4ever - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    I understand what you are getting at, but he can still force their hand. They can’t make him play. “Plain and simple; if you don’t pay me X, I will NOT play for you.”

    The Angels balk at this and the next thing you see is Trout having a press conference.

    “I am the consensus best player in the game, I’m not asking for the top contract in baseball.. I just want to be paid like one of the top 100 players in baseball”.

    Look at it from the Angels perspective. They can’t hold firm and not agree to a reasonable deal with Trout. He has all the cards still. Sure, it would harm his image and make everyone talk about how greedy he is.. But it would do more harm to the Angels if they didn’t have him play for them than it would to him.

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:37 AM

      This is Mike Trout, not Brett Favre. Sitting out would do himself no favors.

  13. chill1184 - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    Very smart move to lock Trout if they can get it done, the kid is a beast.

  14. bendover09 - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    Trout gonna look good in the Rangers uniform

    • yahmule - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:48 AM

      He would be the first.

      • hep3 - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:55 AM

        Are you dissing Ron Washington? Yeah, I guess you are correct.

      • jarathen - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:23 AM

        There aren’t enough likes.

  15. doctornature - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    Trout will sign for no more than 6 years, if he is smart, with 2014 counting as 1 of the six. That covers his 3 arbitration years and 2 FA years along with this year. 6/120 is my guess.

    That allows for security now, in case of injury, and allows him to hit the FA market at 27 or 28, in his prime, where he will still be able to demand another 10 year contract. If his skills remain status quo, he will still get the largest contract in history. If he improves, Arte will have to give him part of the Angels to keep him.

    He has no reason to sign for more than 6. If the Angels refuse, he hits the open market at 25 and will get 40 Million+/year IMO. He can go to arbitration and make 50 million easy in his 3 years, or more, and then become the richest athlete in history when he is 25. I don’t see him signing a team-friendly deal now after the Angels renewed him last year.

    • jarathen - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:24 AM

      Sounds about right. Makes me sad, because I want him to be an Angel forever, but sounds about right.

  16. cohnjusack - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    i’ve posted about this before, but it bears repeating: Mike Trout is off to the greatest start to his career of any player in baseball history.

    WAR by players with historically great starts during their first two full seasons:
    –Albert Pujols — 12.1 WAR
    –Ichiro Suzuki — 11.2 WAR
    –Dwight Gooden — 17.6 WAR
    –Mickey Mantl e– 11.7 WAR
    –Wade Boggs — 14 WAR
    –Alex Rodriguez — 15 WAR
    –Frank Robinson — 13.4 WAR
    –Frank Thomas — 13.9 WAR
    –Dick Allen — 15.3 WAR
    –Tom Seaver — 12.8 WAR
    –Nomar Garciaparra — 13.7 WAR
    –Ted Williams — 13.0 WAR
    –Joe DiMaggio — 12.8 WAR
    –Stan Musial –14.7 WAR
    –Mike Trout — 20.1 WAR

    • yahmule - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      Thanks for posting it again. My first time seeing it. Truly amazing.

  17. favrewillplay4ever - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    I know the risk isn’t as severe as it is with football players or even pitchers.. But there is still risk.

    I hate the aspect of hold outs in sports all together but we have to remember this is these guys’ livelihoods. They provide entertainment and make their employers money hand over fist. My gripe isn’t with being locked in for x years or even the process of arbitration. Its with the Angels not respecting the fact they have one of the top players in baseball and insisting on giving him a relative pittance compared to the rest of the league.

    In normal circumstances, it’s a great system where teams develop players and take time to bring them along then have the rights to the players’ first few years of service. But in a situation like this where the guy has already established himself (barring injury) as being one of the leaders / best players in this next generation of baseball stars it is the exception.

    Trout is one of the true bargains in baseball right now, but it is in no means good baseball that bench players across the league are making more money than him.

  18. denseflea - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    You are ALL forgetting that Mike Trout is a homegrown talent. 25 teams passed on him before the Angels drafted him…

    The Angels trained him, guided him, let him grow into the mega start that he is through their farm system and players don’t tend to forget that kind of thing… ie Nolan Ryan and the Mets.

    As an Angels fan, I hope they don’t shaft him this time around but I’m not a baseball exec. The business side of things is not something I’ll always understand but with 15 mill extra in roster money and waiting to announce it until opening day, a nice payday seems plausible.

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:15 AM

      And after one of the best rookie seasons in all of MLB history, the Angles only raised his salary by the minimum amount they were allowed to… From $480K in 2012 to $540K last yr.

      In 2013, Bryce Harper made $2 million…

      Trout’s barely made half of what Harper got paid just last season over the last two seasons…

      The Angles could have and should have paid him like $700K or something MORE than the minimum than they did.

      They better hope Trout doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder about this.

    • zackd2 - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:20 AM

      I think you’re forgetting homegrown players leave their original teams every year.

      • denseflea - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:18 PM

        Sure, in trades of FA.

        I would expect that most of the time, players want to stick with the organization that drafted them or where they’ve spent the most time.

        You see that more than you actually see them deciding to leave, unless they’re motivated by money. And Trout is not that kind of player.

  19. yahmule - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    The good thing is Trout and his parents will sit down and do something that’s right for everybody. His dad was drafted by the Twins, so he fully understands the business side of things. It would be really hard to overstate how well his parents raised Mike Trout. He is universally loved in the Angels organization and this would be the case if he were far less talented. I believe he has nothing but good feelings about the Angels and the odds of him negotiating in the media, much less talking about a hold out, are astronomical. He’s just not wired that way.

  20. basedrum777 - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    You know you want to wait until you can go back to NJ and play for the Yankees mike. Hold out for it.

  21. keltictim - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    If I’m trout I lock in the biggest contract I can get out of the angels with an opt out after his 28-29 year old season. With that he won’t have to worry about ever working again in case he is injured, and if he’s unhappy in cali he can get out and still make another truck load of money.

  22. jcracc - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    Craig you have it 100% correct. If Trout is forced to wait for arb or worse free-agency …as they say in NY forget about it….Dodgers…Yankees …Red Sox….or Philly (near his home and parents) would open up the vault for him ….over the long run it may be cheaper so sign him to a 10 year deal even its around 300 mill I think Arte is smart enough to figure this one out …..do it and do it on day one of the season.

  23. phillysports1 - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    Best complete player right now . Cabrera best overall hitter .

    • jarathen - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      And Carbera’s value this year would go up if his hitting stayed roughly the same, since he’s not playing 3B as a performance art piece and is instead just kind of slow-footed at 1B.

  24. APBA Guy - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    I had the pleasure of seeing Trout in person last year at the Mausoleum. He put one out, nearly a second, and completely dominated his at bats against A’s pitching, which is very good. He’s 22. As an A’s fan, I’m really torn here. I love watching guys this good play. But I hate how he can turn a game around against the A’s, who would, if they ever got a guy like him, never be able to keep him. My guess, he does a 10 year deal with the Angels in the mid-high $ 20’s AAV, with an opt-out at 6 years.

  25. moogro - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    He will make 40 million + per year at some point in his life.

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