I wasn’t awake at 4:30 a.m. CDT to watch the 2019 Major League Baseball season open this morning in Tokyo. But I was awake hours earlier when it was announced that baseball’s best player will get the biggest contract ever.
The Los Angeles Angels went Trout fishing and landed a whooper. Trout will get paid $430 million over 12 years, easily shattering Bryce Harper’s 13-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Trout deal dashed the hopes of Harper and the Phillies, who had been fishing for Trout for two weeks. The city of Philadelphia had been dreaming of baseball dominance with those two stars in the lineup.
There’s no denying Harper is good, but Trout is better. Much better. He’s a seven-time All-Star, who won the American League MVP award in 2014 and 2016. He also finished second in the 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2018
It’s no surprise that Trout led the AL in wins above replacement in each of his first five full seasons. He also led the AL in runs scored (2012-14, 2016) and times on base (2013, 2015-16, 2018) four times.
As of 2018, Trout led all active major league ballplayers in career slugging percentage (.573), on base plus slugging (.990), and stolen base percentage (84.75%), and was second in career on base percentage (.416).
It came as a surprise to many that Trout quickly signed the extension with the Angels. But not to those who knew him well. Unlike Harper, Trout doesn’t crave the limelight and wanted to end the drama early.
Although relatively quiet for a superstar of his stature, Trout proved loyal to the team that drafted him 10 years ago and was fully invested in the organization. He appreciated what Angels owner Arte Moreno had done for him.
Mike Trout is a class act. Those who know him best often praise him for his humility and charitable endeavors. I could fill up many blog pages describing these, but suffice it to say that baseball and the world needs more Mike Trouts.