The Los Angeles Angels and star center fielder Mike Trout are discussing a six-year contract extension that would pay him in the range of $150 million, a source close to the negotiations told Yahoo Sports.
Both Trout and the Angels have expressed a desire to lock up the 22-year-old to a long-term deal this spring, and discussions for now have focused on a six-year deal that would buy out two years of Trout’s free agency and put him on the open market at 28 years old.
The gap between the sides is in the low eight figures, the source said, with the Angels offering a little more than $140 million. Optimism exists that it will be bridged, and it is likely to end up with an average annual value of around $25 million a year, which would smash records for a player with just two-plus years of service time.
Should an agreement fall through, the Angels could renew Trout, as they did last season, and pay him around $1 million for the 2014 season. He would be eligible for free agency following the 2017 season.
In both of his full seasons, Trout has finished as American League MVP runner-up, and he has established himself as baseball’s best all-around player. Following his brilliant Rookie of the Year season in 2012, Trout was even better in 2013, hitting .323/.432/.557 with 27 home runs, 33 stolen bases and an AL-leading 110 walks.
The structure of the proposed deal is unclear, though a reasonable breakdown could look something like:
2014: $2 million salary and $10 million signing bonus
2015: $13 million salary
2016: $22 million salary
2017: $30 million salary
2018: $35 million salary
2019: $38 million salary
Not only would the deal set Trout for life in his early 20s, it would allow him to seek even greater free-agent riches in his prime. Negotiations, the source said, remain fluid and could end up with a longer term, though the sides for now have settled on six years.
Salaries in Major League Baseball continue to climb, and such a deal for Trout would build on the growth this offseason, when Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw signed a seven-year, $215 million extension that includes an opt-out after five years and $150 million.
Earlier this week, as Angels spring camp opened, Trout declined to comment about a possible extension. The team has kept mum as well.
"I know what you guys are going to ask," Trout told reporters. "I'm here to get ready for the season. I don't want to comment on the contract negotiations and stuff. I'm here to just get ready and prepare myself for the upcoming season."