Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported today that Mike Trout was seeking a 13 year deal from the Angels and that if he couldn’t get that he wanted a 4 year deal instead.
It’s my sincere hope that Trout plays for the Angels for 18-20 years total. I want the Angels to do everything in their power to make that happen. But I think a 13 year deal would have been to big a contract where guaranteed money is involved. I’m sure the Angels were looking for a 10 year deal which would have pushed Trout’s contract through his prime years; still giving him the opportunity to “take a second bite of the apple” but not at the premium he might expect 3 years earlier.
So far in the history of MLB where giant, long term deals are concerned only one has proven to be worth it, that would be Alex Rodriguez’s first contract with the Texas Rangers (and then transferred to the Yankees). I think a 10 year deal with Trout would have proven to be just as successful as A-Rod’s but that is mere speculation. The possibility of injury still remains. Looking at how Ken Griffey Jr’s career deteriorated after his wrist injury should be evidence enough. Second, while Trout’s current deal offers him the opportunity to be a free-agent in his “prime” it’s almost inconceivable to know what his prime will look like. His first two full years were historic. It’s hard to imagine them getting any better. Statisticians will tell you that they were so remarkable that some regression has got to be expected. It could be that Trout is the “pop star” of baseball, splashing on to the seen at a young age and becoming irrelevant at a later age (see again, Ken Griffey Jr). I don’t believe that to be the case but the deal the Angels were able to agree on protects them just in case it turns out to be true.
I think the Angels will always have enough money to pay Trout what he’s worth. The big risk in him leaving is to go to another team because he thinks he’ll be happier there. The only thing the Angels can do to make sure he’s happy is to win. If Trout is confident the Angels are a relevant championship team he’ll follow Jeter’s lead and stay with the Angels.
Am I wrong?