Earlier this morning, Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels came to terms on a record 12 year, $430 million deal. Baseball has officially gotten its first $400 million player.
This basically seals Trout’s fate as an Angel for life. Mike Trout has been in an Angels uniform since 2011, where he broke out with one of the greatest rookie seasons in baseball history. He has career numbers of .307/.416/.573 to go along with a .990 OPS and 240 HR, 648 RBI, 793 runs, an 189 stolen bases. He has been a top four MVP candidate in every one of his seven full seasons, as well as an All-Star in all of then and a Silver Slugger winner in all but one. Trout has been the most complete player we have seen since Ken Griffey Jr. and a younger A-Rod. His pay day was inevitable, but even this deal comes as a bit of a surprise. He got a whole $100 million more than Bryce Harper did, who set the record for largest contract when he signed late into free agency to the Phillies for $330 million over 13 years. What does this mean for the free agency market going forward? Who else is worth the elusive $400 million?
The first notable name that comes to mind is Mookie Betts. He, Trout, Francisco Lindor, and maybe Alex Bregman are the only true five tool players the game has. Mookie is fresh off a historic season where he won a Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, batting title, MVP and a World Series for the Boston Red Sox. He was also awarded a record $25 million for arbitration this year. Betts has not kept his quest for a big contract a secret, as on top of that record setting arbitration deal, he won his arbitration the year prior at $10 million. Mookie might not get the $400 million number that Trout received, but he could be looking at more per year. Trout is going to be paid just a hair over $34 million per year for the next 12 years, beating Nolan Arenado’s previous record breaking extension of $32.5 million a year. I saw on twitter (@redsoxstats) a deal that would be 11 years for $365 million. That would give him a higher per year stat than Nolan, and would put him in the same free agency class as Trout. I believe that Mookie does get the $400 million, and most likely for only 11 years to give him a higher per year number.
Francisco Lindor is another player I can see getting a huge market setting deal. Manny Machado got $300 million dollars this offseason, which is the new standard for shortstops (even though he is playing third again for San Diego, the contract will be viewed as a shortstop deal). Xander Bogaerts is the next star shortstop to hit the open market, but he won’t crack the $300 million mark Machado set. But, he will hit the market as it might be hard for the Red Sox to pay him, Chris Sale, and Mookie Betts as well as saving money for Rafael Devers and Andrew Benintendi. That could cause a team to over pay for Bogey, raising the value of shortstops. Lindor is also in a stacked shortstop class that includes Corey Seager and Carlos Correa. That class will drive the position price way up as they are some of the brightest young stars, regardless of position. In my opinion, Lindor is the the best of the bunch. I could see him getting the 11 year $365 million that was mentioned for Mookie. Either way, all three of them are getting $350 million plus minimum barring injuries or career implosion.
Other notable players such as Alex Bregman, Aaron Judge, Paul Goldschmidt, and Javier Baez may be in line for a big pay day in the very near future. Each situation is different, and you have to take into account budget, age, production, position, which teams are interested, the farm systems of those teams, ect. Either way, $300 million dollar men are going to be a lot more common in the years to come. Yet, the $400 million dollar man might still just be a one man race… for now.