The buzz Tuesday morning in the Texas Rangers’ clubhouse had nothing to do with the Rangers and everything to do with the best player in baseball.
Mike Trout is reportedly on the verge of signing the richest contract in professional sports history, a 12-year, $426.5 extension with the Los Angeles Angels that will include the two years and $66.5 million on his current deal, according to ESPN and the Orange County Register.
The Rangers were well aware of the deal as they trickled into the clubhouse ahead of their game against the Milwaukee Brewers. The TVs in the clubhouse were locked onto MLB Network and ESPN, who had the Trout deal plastered on their breaking news bottom line.
The players were also locked onto a common theme.
“If there’s somebody in baseball that deserves that and has earned it, it’s Mike Trout,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “Anyone who comments on that in a negative way doesn’t know anything about baseball.”
The largest contract in Rangers history is the 10-year, $252 million deal they gave to Alex Rodriguez in 2000. It doubled the largest contract in sports, a six-year deal for NBA star Kevin Garnett worth $126 million, and more than doubled the largest MLB contract of eight years and $121 million for left-hander Mike Hampton.
The largest contract of the Jon Daniels Era is the seven-year, $130 deal that Shin-Soo Choo signed late in 2013. Andrus signed an eight-year, $118 million extension at the beginning of that season.
The Rangers spent $112 million to land Yu Darvish -- a six-year, $60 million deal for the right-hander that also included a $52 million posting fee to the Hokkaido Fighters in Japan.
The Rangers players who were asked about the Trout deal all said that no one is better than the two-time American League MVP.
“I don’t think anybody’s complaining about that,” said Choo, the highest-paid Rangers player at $22 million this season. “He’s the best player in baseball.”
Andrus, who is the Rangers’ representative to the players union, said that the deal, while large, isn’t going to solve the issues players have faced the past few off-season in free agency. Andrus said that the elite players are going to get their money, but problems still exist for almost all other players.
And a big problem exists for the Rangers. They will have to face Trout for the next 12 seasons when he will be 39 years old.
The center fielder has played 132 career games against the Rangers and his numbers are MVP-worthy. He has a .322 average, a 1.048 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage), 25 homers, 86 RBIs and 27 steals.
“That’s not a good feeling for our pitching,” Andrus said. “Hopefully he’ll be nicer to us. Now that he’s super rich he can be nice to us.”