LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday morning were nearing an agreement to lock down Mike Trout with a long-term contract that would keep him in Anaheim through 2030, according to a source familiar with the negotiations but unauthorized to publicly comment.
The deal is reportedly worth $430 million over 12 years, the biggest contract in sports history. It would net the perennial most-valuable-player candidate more money than even Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper, who earlier in March signed a $330-million, 13-year contract — a deal that was the most lucrative in baseball history.
Trout, who is still searching for his first playoff victory in Anaheim, has been the subject of speculation for months now. A native of Millville, N.J., he was tied to the Phillies even before Harper signed there. The rumors ramped up upon Harper’s signing, as Harper himself alluded on multiple occasions that he’d do what he could to lure Trout back to the East Coast. He told a Philadelphia radio station, “If you don’t think I’m gonna call Mike Trout to come to Philly in 2020, you’re crazy.”
Though Trout recently built a house in Millville and is an avid fan of Philadelphia’s football (Eagles) and basketball (76ers) teams, he has grown to enjoy living in Southern California, probably more so than most people realize.
Trout, who signed a six-year, $144.5-million deal with the Angels in 2015, likes his teammates and feels a deep sense of loyalty to Angels owner Arte Moreno, who has treated Trout and his family well over the years.
Trout may be East-coast born and bred, with a South Jersey blue-collar work ethic, but the laid-back Southern California lifestyle seems to suit him and his wife, the former Jessica Tara Cox.
The Angels have reached the playoffs only once since Trout, a first-round pick in 2009, was called up to the big leagues in the summer of 2011, getting swept by the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 American League division series after winning 98 games and the American League West title.
Trout thought the Angels made enough moves before 2018 — convincing two-way star Shohei Ohtani to play in Anaheim, signing left fielder Justin Upton to a five-year extension, acquiring veteran infielders Zack Cozart and Ian Kinsler and catcher Martin Maldonado — to contend for a playoff spot.
Injuries ravaged the rotation and the lineup, and the Angels finished 80-82, far out of the playoff picture. They made incremental moves to upgrade the pitching staff and lineup this past winter but are hardly a lock to make the playoffs in 2019.
But the Angels farm system, among the worst in baseball earlier this decade, has improved dramatically — 19-year-old outfielder Jo Adell is ranked among the top 10 prospects in baseball, and right-hander Griffin Canning and left-hander Jose Suarez are on the cusp of the big leagues.
Trout, 27, said in February upon arriving at Angels spring training that all he cared about was getting the opportunity to win. It seems he now may have enough time to meet that goal.