RONALD BLUM | THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels are close to finalizing a $432 million, 12-year contract that would shatter the record for the largest deal in North American sports history, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The deal was disclosed Tuesday by a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been finalized and had not been announced. The contract was likely to be announced by the end of this week, the person said.
Trout’s total would top the new $330 million, 12-year contract between Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies, and Trout’s $36 million average annual value would surpass pitcher Zack Greinke’s $34.4 million in a six-year deal with Arizona that started in 2016. The contract also would best Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez’s $356 million deal with sports-streaming service DAZN.
Progress toward an agreement was first reported by ESPN.
Trout would set a baseball record for career earnings at about $513 million, surpassing the roughly $448 million Alex Rodriguez took in with Seattle, Texas and the New York Yankees from 1994-2017.
Whether Trout’s deal is the largest in the world for a team athlete is difficult to determine.
Forbes estimated Lionel Messi earned $84 million from Barcelona in 2017-18 and Cristiano Ronaldo $61 million from Real Madrid, but precise details of their contracts are not known.
Trout’s deal would include a signing bonus and supersede the $144.5 million, six-year contract that had been set to pay him $33.25 million in each of the next two seasons.
While the marketplace has been slow for many players this offseason, prompting complaints from the players’ association, top stars have gained robust deals. Four of the largest seven contracts will have been agreed to, with Trout and Harper joined by Manny Machado ($300 million for 10 years with San Diego) and Nolan Arenado ($260 million for eight years with Colorado).
Los Angeles selected Trout with the 25th overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft, and he signed for a bonus of $1,215,000. He made his major league debut on July 8, 2011.
A 27-year-old outfielder entering what should be his prime years, Trout is considered baseball’s top player and would have been coveted as a free agent after the 2020 season.
He lives in southern New Jersey, and Harper said he was excited about trying to recruit Trout to join him in Philadelphia.
Trout has been an All-Star in each of his seven full big league seasons and hit .312 with 39 homers, 79 RBIs, 24 steals and 122 walks last year. He led the major leagues in OPS in each of the last two seasons.
Trout has a .307 average with 240 homers, 648 RBIs, 189 steals and 693 walks in eight big league seasons. He was voted AL Rookie of the Year in 2012, won the AL MVP award in 2014 and ’16 and finished second in MVP voting four times, tying the record shared by Stan Musial, Ted Williams and Albert Pujols.
Big-money deals have not worked out for the Angels in the past. Pujols agreed to a $240 million, 10-year deal before the 2012 season but has not matched his previous performance with St. Louis. Josh Hamilton signed a $125 million, five-year contract before the 2013 season and contributed just 31 homers and 123 RBIs in two seasons with the Angels.
Trout is viewed differently as a home-grown Angels player and forms a core with Japanese star two-way player Shohei Ohtani, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Ohtani is expected to be able to hit for the Angels at some time in the first half of the season and to resume pitching in the 2020 season.