August 5, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) steals second base in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Here is a fun exercise: add together the counting statistics of both Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo, two of the highest paid free agents this offseason. Then, once you have their total home runs, singles, doubles, stolen bases, etc., subtract Mike Trout‘s statistics. What do you have left? A player of the caliber of Eric Young.
So, what is the point of this calculating? It is a way of showing, according to Dave Cameron of FanGraphs, that Mike Trout is actually going to be underpaid by the Angels. Since Ellsbury and Choo are going to be paid an average of $40 Million per year over the next seven years, Trout may be well worth that amount annually, if not more. As it stands, the Angels and Trout are negotiating a contract that is rumored to be six years at somewhere around $150 Million.
What this means for the Angels is that, once they lock up Mike Trout, they could actually go out and acquire a pitcher such as Matt Garza, who signed for an average of $12.5 Million over the next four years and get a replacement level backup with the remaining $2.5 Million. Trout, with his unique blend of power, speed and defense, is almost the equivalent of Choo and Ellsbury. However, with the rumored contract that the Angels and Trout have discussed, the Angels are going to wind up with quite the bargain.
It is quite strange to think of a contract worth an average of $25 Million as actually being a team friendly contract, but that is exactly what the Angels would have. Ellsbury and Choo are going to be receiving their combined payout as they approach their mid to late 30’s, while Trout will be getting paid significantly less than that in his mid to late 20’s, just as he is entering his prime. In fact, by the end of the contract, Trout could actually outperform both players combined, especially given Ellsbury’s injury history.
The extension would also be team friendly when factoring in the years of free agency that Mike Trout would be giving up. As it stands, Trout would be eligible for free agency at age 27, just as he is entering his hypothetical prime. Unless he suddenly tails off the same way that Cesar Cedeno did, Trout could surpass the record setting contract that Clayton Kershaw received this past year.
Even if the Trout extension ends up being for more than anticipated, even upwards of $30 Million a season, that price would likely be a bargain for the Angels. They could still get that replacement level backup, and sign a decent free agent for the same price that Jacoby Ellsbury and Shin-Soo Choo received. In the end, that type of a contract would still be a win for the Angels.
Mike Trout has certainly staked his claim to being the best player in baseball. With the anticipated extension that he could be receiving, he would still be the best bargain in baseball as well.