Ross D. Franklin
Mike Trout is still underpaid.
When news first broke that the Los Angeles Angels had signed Mike Trout to a contract extension—on the heels of Miguel Cabrera's record-setting extension with Detroit—our minds began to wander, wondering just how much the 22-year-old phenom was going to get.
How do you value a player who, as Greg Beacham of The Associated Press (h/t the Detroit News) noted, has put himself alongside some of the game's all-time greats in just over two years?
"He (Trout) is one of four players in baseball history to bat .320 with 50 homers and 200 runs in his first two full seasons, joining Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Pujols," Beacham wrote.
After the dust settled, we learned that Trout got a six-year, $144.5 million extension —an average value of just over $24 million a season—to stay in Los Angeles through the 2020 season, per ESPN, and the first thing that came to many of our minds was "That's it?"
Granted, $144.5 million is an insane amount of money, enough to set a player, his family and future generations up for life. But based on what Trout has done thus far over his short MLB career—and the fact that he's only going to continue to get better—$24 million a season is a bargain for the Angels.
FanGraphs values Trout's past two seasons at $44.9 million and $52.1 million, respectively. That's $97 million—roughly two-thirds of the total value of his new extension. It's not a stretch to say that, within two or three years, he will have outplayed his new deal.
That makes the Angels big winners this spring, more so than the team's winning record (18-11) on the field.