Trout remains under contract through the next two seasons after signing a six-year, $144.5 million extension in 2014. There’s been speculation that Trout, a Millville, N.J., native, could return home to Philadelphia as a free agent in two years to join Harper, but the Angels have made it a priority to sign Trout to an extension, much like the Rockies did with Nolan Arenado on Wednesday with his eight-year, $260 million deal.
“I haven’t even thought about it,” Trout said. “Obviously, you guys [the media] bring it up a lot and I appreciate you asking me all these questions, but right now is not the time to think about it. I still have two years.”
Harper, Arenado and Manny Machado (10 years, $300 million) have been the three most recent players to receive contracts of more than $250 million, but none have been nearly as good as Trout in recent years. Over the last five seasons, Trout leads the Majors with 43.9 Wins Above Replacement, while Machado has produced a 24 WAR, Arenado has posted 23.5 WAR and Harper has put up 22.2 WAR, per FanGraphs.
Trout, 27, signed his last extension at the end of Spring Training in 2014, but he indicated that in a perfect world, he’d avoid negotiations during Spring Training and the regular season.
“In Spring Training, you’re trying to get ready for the start of the season, and you don’t want to worry about anything else,” Trout said. “That’s the mindset right now, and we’ll go from there.”
Trout said he monitored the free agency of Harper and Machado this offseason and was pleased to see them ultimately sign the mega-deals they were seeking. But he added that he hasn’t looked at their contracts as a comparison for what he’s seeking.
“I haven't really thought about it," Trout said. “I'm happy with what they got. They obviously wanted that and we'll go from there. Like I said, I don't think about that stuff.”
Trout said he expects to continue to hear from Philadelphia fans about potentially signing there in two years, as it comes with the territory of being from that area. But he will have many factors to consider ahead of his upcoming decision.
The Angels have internally discussed a potential extension with Trout, according to owner Arte Moreno, but he declined to say whether the club has begun any negotiation’s with Trout’s agent, Craig Landis. Moreno said earlier this spring that keeping Trout in an Angels uniform long term is the club’s top priority.
“It’s not in the back of our mind, but it’s in the front of our mind,” Moreno said in February. “I think it also depends a little bit on the agent and the player. So it’s not just us. We try to stay in communication with how they are feeling.”
Angels manager Brad Ausmus also spoke glowingly of Trout on Friday, as he got to know the two-time American League MVP last year while serving as a special assistant for the franchise. Ausmus said Trout is the best player in the game, but it’s the way that he carries himself that really impresses him.
"I don't see why anyone wouldn't like Mike Trout,” Ausmus said. “Certainly, the fans love him, and they should. He goes about his business in the right way and he's admired and honored for it, and should be. In that sense, he's very important to the Angels' fans, and that's exactly how he should be. He really goes about his business and plays the game the way you would want to teach your child to play the game."