The best player in baseball is closing in on the richest contract in the history of North American sports. Mike Trout, the center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels, is finalizing a 12-year contract extension with the team that will be worth more than $430 million, according to multiple news media reports.
The deal was first reported by ESPN, and the Los Angeles Times reported that Trout would be paid $36 million per year for 10 years, starting in 2021, with no opt-outs in the deal.
However the deal is calculated — either an additional $360 million over 10 years or the Angels’ total commitment of $430 million for the next 12 years — Trout has eclipsed the previous record for guaranteed money: the 13-year, $330 million deal that Bryce Harper signed this month with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The deal also establishes Trout as the highest-paid baseball player on an annual basis, topping the $34.4 million that Zack Greinke is earning from the Arizona Diamondbacks on a six-year, $206.5 million contract signed in December 2015.
Trout, 27, has started his career with seven astounding seasons; the most similar players, production-wise, at his age, according to baseball-reference.com, have been the Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Ken Griffey Jr., and Mickey Mantle.
Trout, who has won two American League Most Valuable Player awards and has been the runner-up four times, has a .307 career average and is the majors’ active leader in on-base-plus-slugging percentage, at .990.
But postseason success has eluded Trout, who has reached the playoffs just once, in 2014, when the Angels were swept by the Kansas City Royals in a division series. The possibility of Trout departing for a new team loomed after the 2020 season, when his six-year, $144.5 million contract was set to expire; Harper, for one, has said he would love for Trout to join him in Philadelphia.
Trout still lives in his hometown, Millville, New Jersey, in the off-season and is a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan. But the Angels had tried to impress upon Trout the benefits of keeping his work and home lives separate, and to sell him on the idea of being a one-team icon with a franchise with which he has thrived.
By stacking up more millions than any other team ever has, it seems, the Angels have made the winning pitch.