The Los Angeles Angels and 22-year-old superstar Mike Trout are reportedly discussing an extension that would pay him roughly $150 million over six years, writes Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan. The deal, as Passan reports it, would allow Trout to become a free agent at the age of 28, buying out his first two years of free agency.
As Passan notes, the duo is still a bit distanced in terms of figures, with the Angels offering just over $140 million, while Trout's camp is presumably seeking something over $150 million. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal adds that the Angels' preference is to sign Trout to a seven-year deal, worth between $150 and $160 million.
While the projected sums are certainly staggering, they are surprising in that many expected a Trout extension to be record-breaking, possibly worth as much as $300 million over 10 years. According to Buster Olney, many agents were expecting the deal to eclipse the $200 million mark.
View of some agents NOT involved in the Mike Trout talks: If the number doesn't begin with a '2' -- as in 200m+ -- it's light.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 23, 2014
Passan suspects that a deal could break down along the following lines:
2014: $2 million ($10 million signing bonus)
2015: $13 million
2016: $22 million
2017: $30 million
2018: $35 million
2019: $38 million
Passan's projection accounts for Trout signing the contract prior to this year's Opening Day, however, the Orange Country Register's Jeff Fletcher sees that as unlikely, since any deal signed before the season starts would count towards the Angels' 2014 payroll. The ramifications could push the Angels over the luxury tax threshold in 2014, while also giving the Angels one less year of team control over Trout. If the two sides were to reach an agreement after Opening Day, Trout's extension wouldn't kick in until 2015, meaning the Angels would be buying out three years of Trout's free agency rather than two. A 2015 extension would also coincide with Joe Blanton and Vernon Wells coming off the Angels' books, which will free up $26.1 million.
If the deal does in fact end up buying out three free agent years, our own Nathan Aderhold sees the numbers breaking down as follows:
2015: $12 million ($10 million signing bonus, effectively for 2014)
2016: $18 million
2017: $20 million
2018: $30 million
2019: $30 million
2020: $30 million
Much more reasonably, a deal along those parameters would escalate similarly to Trout's expected arbitration numbers, culminating in a $30 million salary over each of the final three years. That would make Trout one of just a handful of players to earn $30+ million in a season, joining Pujols, Hamilton, Alex Rodriguez, and the recently extended Clayton Kershaw (Kershaw's deal begins paying him $30 million per season in 2015).
At six years and $150 million, Trout's average annual value (AAV) of $25 million would tie teammate Josh Hamilton as the highest for an outfielder. With Trout at that salary, the Angels would have a trio of players in Trout, Hamilton, and Albert Pujols making a combined $74 million towards the luxury tax each season through 2017, when Hamilton's contract expires.
The Angels are also paying guaranteed contracts to Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, Chris Iannetta, and Joe Smith through at least 2015, meaning the Angels would be paying a total of $125.78 million for nine players in guaranteed payroll obligations next year if you include Trout -- with $134.06 million going to the luxury tax. In total (assuming the $25 million AAV for Trout), the Angels' taxable payroll through 2021 (guaranteed contracts only) would break down like this:
2015: $134.06 million (for Trout, Pujols, Hamilton, Weaver, Wilson, Kendrick, Aybar, Smith, and Iannetta)
2016: $120.5 million (Trout, Pujols, Hamilton, Weaver, Wilson, Aybar, and Smith)
2017: $74 million (Trout, Pujols, and Hamilton)
2018: $49 million (Trout and Pujols)
2019: $49 million (Trout and Pujols)
2020: $49 million (Trout and Pujols)
2021: $24 million (for Pujols)
While that certainly is a ton of money locked up between a small amount of players, it isn't entirely restricting for the Angels, who have shown to be rather frivolous in their spending over the past few years.
Trout, of course, is widely considered to be the best player in the game, as he has been worth 20.4 WAR through his first two full seasons, at the ages of 20 and 21. For his career, he is a .314/.404/.544 hitter with top-notch base running and otherworldly defense in center.