MLB

MLB Weekly Digest March 25th Edition

Image Credit: Sports Illustrated

The previous week in MLB was about several players signing contract extensions and a club in the American League signs a prospect to a multi-year deal.

Los Angeles Angels Sign Outfielder Mike Trout to Historic Contract Extension

The Los Angeles Angels have signed outfielder Mike Trout to a historic contract extension. Trout and the Angels have agreed to a 12-year, $426.5 million contract extension, per Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com.

Trout had two years left on the six-year contract he signed with the Angels in 2014, and the new deal adds 10 years to his current contract.

The new contract doesn’t include an opt-out clause, which means Trout will probably be with the Angels for the remainder of his career.

Trout has signed the largest contract in the history of the sport in terms of total value and average annual value at $426.5 million and $35.83 million, respectively, per Stephen Nelson of MLB Network.

Trout has been the apex player in the majors for the past several seasons and earned a contract of this magnitude.

The stellar outfielder is coming off another great 2018 campaign with the Angels as he compiled a .312 batting average and .628 slugging percentage in 140 games with 101 runs scored, 24 doubles, four triples, 39 home runs, 79 RBIs and 24 stolen bases.

He also led the league with 122 walks, a .460 on-base percentage, a 1.088 OPS and a 199 OPS+.

He finished second in the American League MVP voting last year, marking the fourth time in his career to earn that distinction.

The lowest Trout has finished in the MVP voting is fourth, which happened during the 2017 season, and has won the award twice.

Trout in eight seasons has built a resume worthy for Cooperstown. He has the most career WAR (Wins Above Replacement) for any player through their age-26 season at 64.3.

This is a higher WAR than some of the best players in history over that timeframe, which includes, Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, Rogers Hornsby, and Jimmie Foxx, per MLB Network.

This is an enormous contract the Angels have given to Trout, but a case can be made it’s still a bargain. Trout has provided immense value to their franchise and was already the face of the team before agreeing to the massive extension.

The greatness of Trout makes it impossible to place a number value on what type a contract he should have, but it only fits the best player in MLB signs the most massive deal in the history of the sport.

The only negative aspect of the deal is the Angels haven’t achieved much success with Trout as the club has just one postseason appearance during his time with the club.

The Angels have failed to provide him much support up to this point, but the extension provides the Angels with a second chance to do right by Trout and invest the necessary resources to build a competitive team around him.

Trout has been the best player in baseball for several seasons and, hopefully by the end of the contract; he’ll have won at least one World Series.

Houston Astros Sign Third Baseman Alex Bregman to Five-Year Extension

The Houston Astros have signed one of their young their stars to a long-term deal as third baseman Alex Bregman has agreed to a five-year, $100 million contract extension, per Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.

The contract for Bregman buys out his three arbitration years and the first two years of free agency. This deal is the second-biggest given to a player before arbitration since Trout signed a six-year, $144 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels in 2014.

Bregman had a breakout 2018 campaign for the Astros as he posted a .286 batting average and .926 OPS in 157 games with 31 home runs, 105 runs scored, 103 RBIs, 10 stolen bases and led the American League with 51 doubles.

The extension for Bregman is excellent for both sides as he receives a significant boost in salary and the Astros lock up one of their young stars long-term.

The other significant aspect of the deal is the Astros won’t have to go through arbitration with Bregman. If Bregman continued to improve, it’s possible he would’ve cost the club more each year in arbitration.

The Astros have two essential players signed to long-term deals as Jose Altuve inked a five-year contract with the club last March.

Houston Astros Sign Starting Pitcher Justin Verlander to Two-Year Extension

The Houston Astros have inked starting pitcher Justin Verlander to a two-year, $66 million extension, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Verlander will become one of the highest paid players in MLB with the extension.

His average annual value at $33 million per season will rank third all-time behind Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke six-year deal signed before the 2016 season and Trout’s new extension.

Verlander had a phenomenal 2018 season with the Astros as he compiled a 2.52 ERA in 214 innings pitched (34 starts) with 37 walks issued, 28 home runs yielded, a 159 ERA+, a 2.78 FIP, a 0.90 WHIP and leading the league with 290 strikeouts.

The right-hander has turned his career around since being traded to the Astros in 2017, and the club has reaped the benefits of his resurgence.

Verlander was set to become a free agent at the end of the 2019 season and re-signing him to a two-year extension is enormous as he’s an integral part of their starting rotation.

The next goal for the Astros’ front office is trying to sign starter Gerrit Cole to a long-term deal as he’ll become a free agent at the end of the season.

Chicago White Sox Sign Outfield Prospect Eloy Jimenez to Six-Year Deal

The Chicago White Sox have signed outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez to a six-year, $43 million deal, and the contract includes a pair of team options that can increase the value of the contract to about $77 million, per Jeff Passan of ESPN.

The contract sets a record for a minor league player yet to make an appearance in the majors, eclipsing the six-year, $24 million deal the Philadelphia Phillies signed Scott Kingery to last year.

Jimenez will make $11 million in the first three years of the deal, and receive salary raises in each of the following three years, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The club options for the 2025-26 seasons are worth $16.5 million and $18.5 million, respectively.

Jimenez is the top-ranked prospect in the White Sox farm system and the No. 3 prospect in all of baseball, per MLB Pipeline.

Jimenez was optioned to Triple-A after struggling during spring training, and the White Sox were expected to keep him in the minors so he wouldn’t accrue any service time in the majors.

However, the club might decide to put him on their Opening Day roster as there’s no reason for him to be in the minors with the new deal.

The outfielder posted a .337 batting average and .961 OPS across two minor-league levels with 22 home runs, 28 doubles, and 75 RBIs last year.

Jimenez is a talented player, and it’s great the White Sox were able to sign him to a very team-friendly contract.

Tampa Bay Rays Sign Starting Pitcher Blake Snell to Five-Year Contract Extension

The Tampa Bay Rays have signed starting pitcher Blake Snell to a five-year, $50 million contract extension, per Jeff Passan of ESPN.

The contract for Snell will start this season, covering all three of his arbitration years and one free-agent year, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.

This is the largest contract given to a pitcher in history before they reached arbitration.

Snell deserved the extension, given what he accomplished last season with the Rays.

He won the AL Cy Young Award, authoring a league-leading 1.89 ERA in 180 2/3 innings pitched (31 starts) with 221 strikeouts, 64 walks issued, 16 home runs yielded, a 219 ERA+, a 2.95 FIP and 0.97 WHIP.

Snell was the best pitcher on a Rays team who won 90 games last year.

It’s a great sign the Rays signed Snell to a long-term deal as they usually don’t offer this type of contract to players on their roster.

St. Louis Cardinals Ink First Baseman Paul Goldschmidt to Five-Year Extension

The St. Louis Cardinals have signed a talented player to a multi-year extension. They have agreed to a five-year, $130 million contract extension with first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

The deal includes no opt-outs and a full no-trade clause, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The Cardinals acquired the first baseman several months ago from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a package of young players.

Goldschmidt was set to become a free agent at the end of the season but will be in a Cardinals uniform for several years.

The extension will start next year, and it’s the largest contract in Cardinals history, both in overall value and average annual value at $130 million and $26 million, respectively.

Goldschmidt has been of the best hitters in the National League over the past several seasons.

He was stellar for the Diamondbacks in 2018 as he compiled a .290 batting average and .922 OPS in 158 games with 35 doubles, 35 home runs, 95 runs scored and 83 RBIs.

The first baseman was selected as an All-Star last year for the sixth consecutive season. He’s proven to be a durable player as indicated by him appearing in at least 155 games in each of the last four seasons.

Goldschmidt has been a tremendous defender at first base in his career, by winning the NL Gold Glove Award three times.

The Cardinals have a terrific all-around player signed for many years, and he should allow them to remain competitive in the NL Central.

Boston Red Sox Sign Starting Pitcher Chris Sale to Five-Year Extension

The Boston Red Sox have signed starting pitcher Chris Sale to a five-year extension worth $145 million. The contract includes deferred money and an opt-out clause after the third year, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The contract includes escalators based on Cy Young finishes which can raise the salary from 2021-24 and a vesting option based on games started in 2025 is worth $20 million, per Jeff Passan of ESPN.

The southpaw was great for the Red Sox last year, by compiling a 2.11 ERA in 158 innings pitched (27 starts) with 11 home runs yielded, 34 walks issued and 237 strikeouts. It marked the sixth straight year he struck out 200 or more batters.

Sale pitched out of the bullpen for the Red Sox during the playoffs as a shoulder injury suffered during the regular season limited his appearances.

The Red Sox were smart to sign Sale to a multi-year extension as he was set to become a free agent at the end of the 2019 season.

The contract is solid for both parties as Sale can be a free agent after three years, and the Red Sox lock up their staff ace.

Author Profile

Chris Lacey
Chris is a 25-year old New Jersey native whose favorite sports team is the Arizona Diamondbacks. He previously attended Western New England College to study Sports Management. Chris has been following the Diamondbacks since he was 12. You can find him on Twitter [email protected]
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