For years, Mike Trout has been the face of the Los Angeles Angels: the homegrown prospect turned into a star in his first full season in the bigs, in 2012, and remains one of the best players in baseball ten years later.
Trout also signed, in 2019, the largest contract in baseball history: 12 years and $426.5 million.
In other words, he is tied to the Angels until the 2030 season.
At the time, the Angels had to pay him because a previous six-year, $144 million pact signed before the 2014 campaign was about to expire.
And they had to pay him handsomely, so they did.
As high as the contract seems, Trout is worth every penny.
He remains a top contributor for the Angels, even if he has lost half a step on defense and baserunning.
For example, he won his third MVP award in that 2019 season, slashing .291/.438/.645 with 45 home runs, and was equally good in 2020.
The 2021 season, unfortunately, was filled with injuries.
But at 30, he should have many additional productive seasons in his future.
Will the Angels live up to their part of the deal?
The Angels Are Starting To Improve
And no, Los Angeles doesn’t just have to pay him: they need to make sure they put a competitive team out there to maximize their chances of winning with, and for, Trout.
For many years, they failed to do that.
The Angels’ roster was perennially short on quality pitching during Trout’s tenure, and as a result, MLB’s premier player in the 2010s just played a handful of postseason games in 2014.
The only postseason hit of Mike Trout's career was this bomb on October 5, 2014
This gave the Angles the only lead that they had in the series pic.twitter.com/kJfk3q9WyT
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) January 23, 2021
That’s the only year the Angels have made it into October with him, and we all know it’s not his fault.
So, could Trout ever demand a trade?
Of course he could, but it’s not likely for a variety of reasons.
First, he is the face of the franchise, and a fan favorite in Los Angeles: players have demanded trades in similar positions, but it’s an unlikely scenario.
Second, he plays for a big-market team and earns good money.
Third, a trade would be extremely complicated to put together given the size of his contract and the difficulties to assess his future value given his age and past performance.
And fourth, the Angels appear to be finally moving in the right direction.
They have not only recognized that pitching is an organizational need at all levels, but have started to act according to that fact.
Committed To Improving The Pitching
Last season, they spent all of their 20 draft picks on pitchers.
They have made it clear that they want to surround Trout with enough talent to make a deep postseason run.
In other words, Trout is not going anywhere, at least not for a couple of years.
I doubt that considering that he could have chosen not to sign an extension and become a free agent. Mike Trout is 30 and he isn’t gonna get younger he’s not gonna request a trade when he’s 33-34 making the amount of money he’s making with how hard it will be to trade him.
— Jeff Kelton (@ManfredToHell) July 30, 2021
The team is all-in on him, and he surely is committed to delivering a championship to Los Angeles.