Mike Trout’s 12-year $430 million deal with the Los Angeles Angeles proves NFL and NBA owners have been getting over on their players with the salary cap and max contracts, unlike the MLB. The games’ greatest players like LeBron James and Tom Brady are rarely the highest paid.
LeBron is one of the greatest players in NBA history. He is a 14-time all NBA selection, four-time MVP, and three-time Finals MVP. He has only been the highest paid player once. LeBron has only been amongst the top five highest-paid four times. How much would teams had been willing to pay LeBron had there been no wage scale in the NBA? Maybe $50-60 million per season?
Tom Brady is considered by most to be the greatest NFL quarterback of all time. He is a six-time champion, four-time Super Bowl MVP, and he holds numerous passing records. But, is he ever the NFL highest paid player? No.
Money Left on the Table For NBA, NFL Highest Paid
LeBron, Brady and other greats are well paid, but don’t get to collect their fair market value because of wage restrictions. MLB players have a truly open market, and players are paid what the market will bear. LeBron and Brady combined have been paid or are owed a total of $614 million in on-field salary. Mike Trout himself will now be at at least $521 million.
The owners created the salary cap, and max salaries to control costs. The leagues are kicking down 100s of millions per year to each franchise. There is no shortage of dollars, but fans believe there is. Teams regularly ask players to take a discount to help build a championship roster. Fans should hold owners responsible for getting the finances right instead of the players. Let the billionaires figure it out. 16 years ago, Arte Moreno bought *the entire Angels franchise* for $182.5 million. They are now worth $1.8 billion.
Imagine signing the largest contract in professional sports history and yet the general consensus is that you’re still being underpaid? Welcome to the life of Mike Trout.
Mike Trout is finalizing a 12-year, $430 million extension with the Los Angeles Angels, which would be the richest contract in professional sports, breaking the 13-year, $330 million contract that was signed by Bryce Harper almost three weeks ago. Trout’s contract has an AAV of $35.8 million, which is also a record. If Trout became a free agent in 2020, the bidding war for his services would have been insane. Teams would have easily surpassed the $500 million threshold had he listened to other offers and there’s no doubt in my mind that Trout would have gotten to $500 million. He’s worth every single penny so congrats to the Angels for locking down a once-in-generation player for a bargain.
Mike Trout is universally regarded as the best player in baseball. In fact, Trout is one of the greatest baseball players of all-time through his first 8 years. There’s historic numbers, and then there’s Mike Trout numbers. Let’s take a look at some of Trout’s stats. I hope you are sitting down because they are mind boggling. Also, remember that Trout is only 27-years old and has played in 8 seasons. (Trout debuted in 2011, but only played in 40 games in his first season.)
Career .307/.416/.573 hitter with 240 home runs, 648 RBIs, 793 runs and 189 stolen bases.
Trout’s career WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is 64.3. That’s the highest ever by a player entering his age-27 season. The average Hall of Fame WAR is 69.
In 7 full seasons, Trout has been a All-Star 7 times.
Trout has been the MVP or runner-up in 6 of 7 full seasons (2 MVPs, 4 runner ups). The only time he was not the MVP or runner-up happened in 2017 due to injury. Trout only finished fourth in MVP voting that season.
Value of the G.O.A.T
As you can see, Mike Trout’s value is priceless. If the Angels paid him $1 billion, Trout still lives up to that contract. If he retires today, he’s in the Hall of Fame.
Although Trout is the best player in the MLB, he’s the furthest thing from a rockstar. In fact, Mike Trout is not as popular as you would think. Last year, Trout ranked 11th in jersey sales. There has been a narrative forming that the MLB does not market Trout enough and some of that has truth to it. Trout and the Angels are scheduled to be on national television 10 times with three of them being out-of-market only games on MLBN. The Angels are not very good and the MLB tends to focus on rivalries in big markets for national games (Think Red Sox – Yankees), but wouldn’t it make sense to put Trout on national TV especially when he travels to the East Coast? To put this into perspective, LeBron James, arguably the greatest player, and the Lakers are scheduled to make 31 appearances on national TV in 2018-2019. It also hurts that Trout has only played in 3 playoff games, which is more of a reflection on how poorly the Angels have been since 2011.
Plus, Trout is very laid-back and low key. He doesn’t crave the spotlight or make it a point of emphasis to become a star, which frustrates Rob Manfred, who said, “He [Trout] has to make a decision to engage. It takes time and effort.” I live in New York. If Mike Trout were to walk down a New York City street in regular clothing, out of 10 people, how many people would recognize him? One, maybe two? Seriously, if you saw the greatest baseball player in the world at a deli in NYC with his wife, would you recognize him?
It’s not a knock that Mike Trout doesn’t want to be a huge star in the public realm. That’s just how he rolls. Trout deserves to do whatever he wants. And you know what? He has earned that right. Instead of focusing on how to make Mike Trout bigger star, let’s just appreciate him for what he is, which is the greatest baseball player on Earth.
Mistakes happen, its part of life. What the Oakland Raiders did last week was unforgivable. I scratched my head wondering what the hell the Oakland Raiders were thinking when trading arguably the best defensive player in football. Money? They could have found it. Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden said, “He (Khalil Mack) didn’t want to be here.” Really? I never heard that from him, and his teammates loved him. Maybe it was bloated salary to leave the cushy booth and that of a regressing QB the reason you dealt him to Chicago. Mack should have been a HOFer in Silver and Black from start to finish of his career sort of like Howie Long.
What did you get for the Ferrari on defense that you sent to the Windy City? Two first-round picks. Seems fair, but it’s not since it’s a lottery when drafting – ask the Vikings in 2005 how that worked out for them when they traded Randy Moss and ended up with Erasmus James and Troy Williamson. That was a disaster, and this trade will be as well. I hear you Raider fans; he wanted too much money. The price to field the best defensive player needed to be accounted for. His play (Mack) on Sunday Night against the Packers, reminded me of Lawrence Taylor while watching Derek Carr versus the Rams, reminded me of his older brother. That’s not good.
You don’t trade the best player at his position unless you like to see fans, wins, and a pink slip comes to your door. Hey Coach Gruden, I still like AOL but the game is different today, and you just made a colossal mistake. Al Davis wouldn’t have moved Mr. Mack. The return is a wait and see, and Raider fans will hope they end up with someone 75% of the value of Khalil Mack.
I write this as a signal to those in the LA Angels of Anaheim, California front office who might be reading this. Maybe the Angels should trade Mike Trout? Um, NO! NEVER! Money is money, Do whatever it takes to keep him in town and build the team to match his abilities. The team added Ohtani last year – maybe get some stud pitching this offseason. You will never win trading Mike Trout away. I think they know that even though bored baseball writers/tv shows continue to propose the idea. It’s lunacy! Khalil Mack will wreck opposing teams offensive lines while cool Coach Gruden counts his money and plays Raiders historic movies (wonder if he used a projector for that?). I like Gruden and hope Derek Carr finds himself, but trading Khalil Mack was stupid. Von Miller, who is a pretty good LB as well, called him “untradeable!”
I would have moved Carr to have kept Mack, and yes I realize you don’t win without a QB. Khalil Mack will be a Hall of Famer and Derek Carr will not. Hey, Angels front office – make sure you offer Mike Trout a lifetime contract because you will never get back equal value. It’s a losing proposition. Just ask the Bears how nice it is to see the sales of Mack jerseys skyrocket to the top. Build around the superstars not trade it away! Watch the Raiders this year – they traded away an Aston Martin Valkyrie for a Coach who hasn’t been in the league for 10 years and a QB resembling a beat-up Tesla that has lost confidence in throwing the football.