News broke yesterday, by Jeff Passan of ESPN that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the greatest player in history Mike Trout agreed to an extension. An extension which will total an unprecedented $430 Million over the next 12 seasons. And somehow $430 Million still seems like an underpayment. So we’ll look at why Mike Trout’s $430 Million deal is a bargain.
The Principal of WAR
When evaluating Major League Baseball players, many different methods are used to calculate their worth. And based on what each individual deems the measure of most significant value that is the tool of assessment that is used. WAR (or Wins Above Replacement) is a statistic that takes every aspect of a player’s on-field contributions and boils them all down to one number. WAR is not the end all be all but more so a starting point, a direction, if you will.
So when looking at where Mike Trout finds himself on the WAR leaderboards, it’s easy to be taken aback. When looking at career WAR totals ahead of the 2019 season, Mike Trout ranks 99th in Major League history. Of all the hundreds of thousands of players to play the game of baseball, Mike Trout entering just his ninth season in the Majors is in the top ONE HUNDRED players of all-time. And the crazy thing is that with another Trout-esque season he can jump near the top fifty of all-time.
Honestly, Angels got a Bargain
Again, WAR is a starting point. And other measurements must be taken into account. But on average across many sabermetric circles, one win above replacement is worth about 8 million dollars. (Some have it closer to 8.5 or 9, but the majority have it around $8 million.) So with using $8 million as the marker of payment and merely taking Trout’s career total in WAR of 64.3. And multiplying those to numbers together we get 8*64.3= 514.4. So for right seasons, Trout has been worth more than half a billion dollars to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Now it’s fair to expect the next twelve seasons to pan out as the first right has for Trout. But there is little doubt that the next right seasons should be equally as impressive. And if anyone can prolong the inevitable defeat at the hands of father time, it is Mike Trout.
Adding Angels in the Outfield
For the first eight seasons of Mile Trout’s Major League career, he has played in just three postseason games (all in 2014.) And the fault has not fallen on Trout’s shoulders as he’s done his part to help the team win. But the pressure is now on Angels GM Billy Eppler and Owner Arte Moreno. And for them to build a winning ballclub around the greatest player the game has ever seen. Currently, the Angels have a couple of pieces that can help them develop into a yearly contender. The will need to continue to dole out ”investments” to aid the centerpiece of their franchise.
Anatomy of a Difference Maker
The signing of Mike Trout came as one would expect of anything surrounding Trout, quietly and without fanfare. We saw the ongoing sagas all offseason long for the likes of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. The constant barrage of rumors and speculation paired with seemingly constant trolling from the players themselves add a level of reckless drama that became monotonous. With Trout, however, no one was the wiser until the deal was basically being signed. This polar opposite approach to signing, what ultimately is a lifetime, contract shows a different side type of person, not just a player.
This deal will conclude in the year 2031. At that point, the 27-year-old Mile Trout will be a grizzled vet at 39-years-old. And call me an optimist or a Mike Trout super-believer. But I think even then Trout will still be putting up monster numbers and make $430 million look like a bargain.