TEMPE, Az. – Having spent the 2016 season as a special assistant to the general manager with the Angels, Rockies manager Bud Black had an up-close-and-personal chance to watch and get to know Mike Trout.
And given that knowledge, Black said, the 12-year, $426.5 million deal Trout signed with the Angels on Tuesday – ostensibly a 10-year, $360 million extending to the two years he had remaining on his previous deal – is no surprise.
“If you are talking about arguably the best player in the game, he is it,” said Black. “I was around him in 2016. He wants to play. What he represents is good for the game. The Angels recognize that, not only as a player, but as a person.”
The deal, Black said, also underscores the overall health of Major League Baseball.
“It shows that the revenues are now being reflected in a lot of things,” said Black. “There was a lot of money doled out this winter. That tells me the game is healthy and thriving.”
How much money?
Well, consider that there have been three $300-million-plus deals since the end of last season alone – Trout, Bryce Harper (13 years, $330 million with Philadelphia) and Manny Machado (10 years, $300 million with San Diego). Prior to this season, Giancarlo Stanton (13-year, $325 million) was the only $300-million man.
Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado signed an eight-year, $260 million deal, which still leaves him with the third highest annual average value in MLB history, $32.5 million, behind Trout ($36 million) and Arizona right-hander Zack Greinke ($34,416,666). Arenado, however, has an edge on all the others. He has the right to opt out of his deals after the 2021 season, which in a way protects both Arenado, who turns 28 on April 16, and the club.
If the Rockies do not meet expectations over the next three seasons, Arenado has the chance to become a free agent and go to a contender, and the Rockies will not have the financial obligation for the following five seasons, and if he opts out and the Rockies are successful, they could easily re-sign him. And then there is the possibility that Arenado is comfortable and plays out the eight-year deal.