Just over two weeks since Bryce Harper signed a record-breaking 13-year, $330 million with the Philadelphia Phillies, Mike Trout established a new record by signing a 12-year contract worth $430 million. The contract adds 10 years to his current contract which was set to expire after the 2020 season. As of this writing, the Angels had yet to make a formal announcement.
The contract establishes two records. First, it is the first $400 million contract in Major League history. Secondly, and probably more significantly, Trout’s contract establishes a new record for average annual value. Trout will receive an average of $35.83 million per season breaking the previous record established by Zack Grienke who has an AAV of $34.4 million per year with his contract for the Diamondbacks.
The signing of Trout was a surprise to many who felt Trout would assuredly want to test free agency in two years. Instead, Trout’s contract will ensure – at least on paper – that Trout will remain in Los Angeles for the next dozen years. There is no opt-out clause in the contract.
Trout has been the face of Major League baseball since arriving on the scene in 2012 when he won American League Rookie of the Year. Trout has finished either first or second in the American League Most Valuable Player Award voting in every season he has played. He won the award in 2014 and 2016. The seven-time All-Star has also won the Silver Slugger award (which recognizes the best offensive player at a player’s respective position) six times in seven years.
From a sabermetrics standpoint, Trout continues to advance up the all-time list for Baseball Reference’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric. In seven major league seasons, Trout has posted a WAR of 64.3 which is a record among position players through the season in which they turned 26. His average WAR of 9.1 includes his low mark of 6.7 set during an injury-plagued 2017 season. If Trout simply hits his average WAR this season he will climb 61 spots and move to 83on the all-time WAR list.
Although Major League baseball is still coming to grips with the ramifications of a slow free agency season, the Trout contract represents the third record-setting contract to be signed in the last month. First Manny Machado signed a 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres, marking the first time a free agent player had received a $300 million contract. Next came Harper’s deal with the Phillies, and now Trout’s.