Star center fielder Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels are finalizing the largest contract in professional sports history, a new 12-year deal worth more than $430 million that will smash previous records and could keep the greatest player of his generation with the Angels for the remainder of his career, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old Trout, who has won two American League MVP awards and finished second four times, will receive an average of nearly $36 million a year, topping Zack Greinke’s previous record average of $34.4 million with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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The $430 million-plus total is more than 30 percent larger than the $330 million deal Bryce Harper signed with the Philadelphia Phillies on March 2 and bests boxer Canelo Alvarez’s deal with DAZN by more than $65 million.
Trout was due to be a free agent following the 2020 season, at which point he was expected to set off a frenzied bidding war among the largest-market teams in the game. The clamoring already had begun, with Harper lobbying for Trout to join him in Philadelphia, which is 45 miles from Trout’s hometown of Millville, New Jersey.
The Angels will nullify that possibility by ripping up the final two seasons of his six-year, $144.5 million deal and replace it with the new 12-year deal through the 2030 season, sources told ESPN.
A generational talent with an unparalleled set of skills among his peers, Trout has put together arguably the greatest start to a career in baseball history. In 1,065 games, he has slashed .307/.416/.573 with 240 home runs, 648 RBIs, 793 runs and 189 stolen bases. No player in history has put up more Wins Above Replacement through his age-26 season than Trout’s 64.3.
While the Angels’ past forays into long-term contracts have not paid off — their 10-year, $240 million deal with Albert Pujols and five-year, $125 million deal with Josh Hamilton both are considered albatrosses — the possibility of losing Trout was simply too much not to consummate a deal.
Trout casts his lot with an organization that has made the playoffs just once during his eight major league seasons — and got swept in the first round when it did. Los Angeles’ bustling farm system and the ability for owner Arte Moreno to parlay a $3 billion local TV deal into higher payrolls gave Trout enough security to lock himself into a deal through his age-38 season.
After joining the Angels as the 25th pick in the 2009 draft, Trout blitzed through their farm system and debuted at 19 years old during the 2011 season. He established himself as a star the next season, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award and finishing second in the MVP voting for the first of two straight seasons. He won the award in 2014 and 2016 and finished second again last year, arguably his best season yet, in which he slashed .312/.460/.628 with 39 home runs and 79 RBIs in 140 games.