The two-time MVP is on course to be one of the greatest players in baseball history, but the Angels have struggled to surround him with competitive teams. Trout has only played one playoff series.
Trout’s contract is the first to clear the $400 million mark and the highest AAV ever.
He was born and raised in New Jersey, which led to rumours of a return east as a free agent. The Yankees and Phillies were both possible destinations, but they will have to turn their big-spending intentions elsewhere, as this contract keeps Trout in Anaheim until he turns 40.
As noted by Darren Rovell, Trout will now receive at least $521 million in on-field earnings throughout his career. Tom Brady and LeBron James, who have claims at their respective greatest of all-time titles, are on course for a combined $614 million.
Trout, like Brady and James, is already etched in the history books. No player has had a higher WAR through his age-26 season. The Albert Pujols contract will be mentioned, and understandably so, but Trout is on course to join Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays in the Hall of Fame’s inner circle.
Aside from the two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani and slick-fielding shortstop Andrelton Simmons, the Angels’ roster is short on players to put around Trout over the next five years. After a so-so offseason, tying down Trout could see the Angels change their recruitment approach.
Baseball needs Trout in the postseason. The prospect of joining a Harper-led Phillies or a dominant Yankees is gone. The Angels have floated around .500, struggling to be a competitive franchise despite Trout, Simmons and now Ohtani.
Marketing has been an issue for MLB. Trout’s profile is far inferior to the majority of NBA and NFL stars, let alone his ‘peers’ Brady and James. Baseball fans want to see the best playing under the lights in October. Trout is not the sole answer for MLB, but his comparative status is a reflection of where the league stands.
Trout is historically great. He’s getting better every year. His legacy will not be impacted by playoff absence, but the pressure is now on the Angels to provide him with a sufficient supporting cast, so his postseason CV extends beyond a 2014 Division Series sweep.