Mike Trout was already one of the best players in Major League Baseball history. Now, he's been signed to the most lucrative contract ever in professional sports after reportedly inking a 12-year, $430-million extension on Tuesday.
That's a stunning amount of money, but a justifiable total because Trout is a special player and person. With the two-time MVP set to spend the rest of his career playing for the Los Angeles Angels, here are the winners and losers after the jaw-dropping deal:
Los Angeles Angels: General manager Billy Eppler and owner Arte Moreno deserve major praise for orchestrating a deal before Trout's impending free agency in 2021 became a bigger distraction. The Angels couldn't afford to lose the best player in franchise history, and they were able to lock up a future Hall of Famer for the rest of his career, including Trout's prime years.
Los Angeles is regularly criticized for handing Albert Pujols a $240-million contract when he was 32 years old. But Trout is six years younger than Pujols was then, and he's well worth the investment. Moreno should be credited for not hesitating and offering another historic contract.
With Trout signed until 2030, the team's front office knows what it has. Now the Angels can continue trying to build a perennial postseason contender, rather than preparing a contingency plan in case the seven-time All-Star departs.
Mike Trout: Of course, the biggest winner is the man who signed the record-setting contract.
Less than a month after Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Nolan Arenado inked record deals of their own, Trout blew them all out of the water. His contract is valued at almost $100 million more than Harper's deal, and even though Trout's new paycheck is staggering, you could argue he's worth even more.
No player has accrued more WAR than Trout through their age-26 season.
Trout arguably passed up an opportunity for more team success by staying in Los Angeles. But even though he's played in only three playoff games over eight seasons with the Angels, there's still reason for optimism.
The team fields a strong young core in Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and top prospect Jo Adell, and Moreno has proven he's willing to spend. Clearly, Trout is confident enough with where the team is headed, and there are a lot worse places to play than Anaheim, especially when you're making close to a half-billion dollars.
Mookie Betts: With several of his peers signing record deals, the reigning AL MVP is next in line.
Betts has been reluctant to sign a long-term deal with the Red Sox, and his patience appears to be paying off. He reportedly turned down an eight-year, $200-million extension following the 2017 season. Now, after being named the AL MVP in 2018, he might double that offer.
Betts isn't on Trout's level, but he's better than Machado and Harper, and will likely command a salary worth $350 million-400 million. With a few comparable players signed, Betts can now go to the Red Sox with his demands, or continue to bet on himself and hit free agency after the 2020 season, when he'll no longer be competing for suitors against Trout.
Major League Baseball: After all the negative attention surrounding free agency the last two offseasons, it's been nice to see the league's stars finally get rewarded. The 10 highest-paid athletes in the big four North American sports are baseball players, and it's never a bad thing for a league when the best player has the richest contract.
Sure, there are still plenty of issues with free agency that need to be corrected, like Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel still being unsigned. But the owners' willingness to spend on the best talents is encouraging.
American League West: The Angels haven't been a dominant force in the division recently, but that hasn't stopped Trout from terrorizing the other four teams.
He's done serious damage against every opponent in the AL West, and especially the Mariners. Trout has posted a 1.033 OPS versus Seattle in 136 career games, hitting seven home runs over 18 contests against the Mariners last season alone.
The Rangers and Mariners are going through different stages of rebuilds. Both teams surely hoped Trout would be gone from the division once that rebuilding is complete.
The Astros and Athletics, meanwhile, will have to hope the Angels don't finally figure out how to effectively build around their superstar.
Philadelphia Phillies: For at least a few weeks, it appeared the Phillies were a real possible landing spot for Trout in two years. The team is poised for sustainable success, and Philadelphia just locked up Harper, who wasted no time trying to recruit Trout.
Harper's pitch didn't seem to hold much weight, and now he'll focus his attention on luring Kris Bryant to Philadelphia in 2022.
Free agency: Suddenly, a lot of future offseason intrigue has been eliminated.
Over the last month, the top potential free agent in 2020 (Arenado) and 2021 (Trout) has been removed from the market, and those two won't hit free agency again. The same can be said for Machado and Harper.
There are still several intriguing players slated for the open market in upcoming years. But if these extensions become more common, a lot of offseason fun for fans will fade away.