- Mike Trout signed a 12-year, $US426 million extension, the biggest contract in North American sports history, with the Los Angeles Angels.
- Trout, widely regarded as the best player in baseball, avoided a much-hyped free agency and is now locked in for his career with the Angels, where he’ll try to help build a contender.
- Trout spoke to Business Insider about his new contract, a new ad campaign with BodyArmor, free agency, and more.
It’s been a big offseason for Mike Trout.
After MLB superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper signed highly anticipated $US300 million and $US330 million contracts in free agency, respectively, Trout – widely regarded as the best player in baseball – shattered their numbers with a 12-year, $US426 million extension with the Los Angeles Angels.
Few saw the deal coming, but the extension locks the best offensive player in baseball to the Angels for his career, with the goal of building a perennial 80-win team into a World Series contender.
On the heels of the biggest contract in North American sports history, Trout also stepped outside of his comfort zone – by dancing.
Trout stars in a new BodyArmor ad with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck featuring both stars busting out their best disco-dance moves. The commercial could shine more light on an athlete many in the sports world believe is relatively unknown, considering his lofty place in his sport.
Trout spoke to Business Insider to promote his partnership with BodyArmor and discussed his new deal, MLB’s controversial free agency, expectations for the Angels, and more.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for length and clarity.
Scott Davis: Why did you choose BodyArmor? They’re racking up quite a roster of athletes.
Mike Trout: Yeah, obviously I’ve been partnering with them for a few years now. Obviously, with guys at the top like Kobe [Bryant], what more, I mean, it’s self-explanatory having Kobe. I love to represent BodyArmor and be a part of it. It’s something special. And now athletes and the way it’s evolving and changing, and every year it’s growing.
Davis: You have this new ad with Andrew Luck. How natural was your dancing on-camera? Did you nail the moves in one take, or did it take you a few to get them down?
Trout: I mean, I’m not a real good dancer. It took me a little bit of takes, but I think it was respectable. It wasn’t like too long. People were asking me how was it, I said, it was definitely out of my comfort zone. But after it was all done, it was a fun – it turned out great. I had a great time. Had some fun with it. It was pretty cool.
Davis: People say that, relative to your position in baseball as one of the game’s best players, you aren’t all that famous or as recognisable as maybe you should be. Even Commissioner Rob Manfred said you had to put yourself out there more. How do you react to that?
Trout: Obviously, I’m a baseball player. Obviously, there’s opportunities for me to do stuff. I don’t do all of them. I gotta make sure that going out and playing is my top priority and let everything else fall from there.
But I try to do as much as I can. When BodyArmor came to me with this ad … I had really never done anything like this before. It’s definitely out of my comfort zone. I think when it all came down to it, after it was said and done, I really enjoyed it.
Davis: You signed a big, new deal with the Angels. Is there a big first purchase you want to make after signing it?
Trout: Nah, there’s not a big purchase that’s on top of my head. I’m just excited, really. Excited to be here, and obviously looking forward to the next 12 years.
Davis: Did you talk to Bryce Harper after signing the deal? Was he mad you took the shine from him so quickly for the game’s biggest deal?
Trout: I talked to him. It’s the way baseball works. Obviously you got top guys in the league that deserve some money, and they got, obviously, Bryce got paid a lot, Manny got paid a lot. We got a lot of extensions. Obviously after when no one signed, then I signed, and then you had [Justin] Verlander, you had [Jacob] deGrom, a lot of big-name guys. [Blake] Snell. It’s good for baseball. I think guys are getting what they deserve, and that’s how it should be.
Davis: What stuck out to you most as you were negotiating with the Angels that made you want to stay there for the next 12 years?
Trout: I think, obviously, being here for eight years now, the relationship that’s grown between [GM] Billy [Eppler] and his time here and [team president John] Carpino’s been here the whole time and [Angels owner] Artie [Moreno], just knowing the direction and knowing that they’re all about the players. They come to me. They come to other guys on the team for advice, seeing if it’s good for the team, seeing what we need to do to help the team get better. I think that’s huge for me. The relationship and the communication was also big for me. I saw that with them, and that definitely helped me and my wife in that decision.
Davis: How did free agency affect your decision to sign this extension? I know you called it a red flag before, with some of the players taking a long time to sign. How did it impact your view?
Trout: I think it definitely was in the back of my mind. I think you see it nowadays with all these extensions. People want to stay away from free agency. You don’t – it was just weird to me that you’ve got top guys on the market that don’t have a team that you would want – for me, I’d wanna build my team around – and you know, just waited so long. They missed a little bit of spring training. I just think it was a tough few months for them. I don’t think anybody wanted to go through what they were going through, obviously. Because they’re top guys in the league, and it definitely, in the back of my mind, it was definitely there. I’m just happy, relieved that it’s all done.
Davis: Is it a problem for MLB if guys want to avoid free agency?
Trout: I don’t wanna say a problem. I just think that, you see, you got top guys in the league and they’re not getting … I just think it’s not right. Like I said, with Harper and Machado, they’re guys … top of the league the last few years, [teams] should wanna bid on a guy like that.
Davis: Going forward, how do you manage expectations?
Trout: My expectations? Obviously, it’s been on my radar the last few years to get to the playoffs. People come up to me saying, “When are you gonna get to the playoffs?” It’d be big for me to obviously, the next 12 years, get there, then win a championship. That’s the goal. Just come in every year expecting to get to the playoffs.
Davis: What can we expect from Shohei Ohtani this year?
Trout: I’m just looking forward to – he’s a special player. It’s pretty impressive that he gets Tommy John [surgery] – usually, a guy that gets Tommy John loses the whole year – but he can come back and DH. I’m sure he’s gonna do well. He’s swinging the bat well right now in the cages.
I don’t know the exact date when he gets back, but we’re looking forward to it. Having him in the lineup changes everything. You saw what he can do last year, and he’s gonna be that much better this year.
Davis: Are there any personal records you’d like to break in your career?
Trout: I really haven’t even thought about it. Obviously being here, being with one team your whole career, it’s gonna be hopefully down the road, but I haven’t really thought about that yet.
Davis: Are there any rule changes you’d like to see in baseball?
Trout: People ask me this all the time. There’s not one thing that I can say that I like or I would change. Put it that way. Like I said, I go out there, and we’ve been playing this game the same way for some years now. But yeah, that’s where I stand. With all these pitching clocks and everything, it will be different, for sure, but it doesn’t change the way I play.
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