After two record breaking free agency signings in the past few weeks, it has me wondering who will break it. My brother and I have always argued who the best player in the game is and I have always said Harper. I am a huge Harper fan and always will be. I respect his game and I don’t think anyone would deny he is up there. My brother has always said Mike Trout is the better player and it wasn’t until last season that my opinion started to shift.
In case you live under a bridge, Harper recently signed a 330 million dollar contract for 13 years with the Philadelphia Phillies. I will be 35 at the end of his contract while he will be closing in on 40. It is fully guaranteed with a full no trade clause and no opt out. Manny Machado signed a 300 million dollar contract a week earlier for 10 years and an opt out after 2023. These are two of the best players in the game and they deserved their pay, but neither one best player in the game. That title belongs to Mike Trout.
Last season alone, Trout led Harper in almost every offensive category. He played 19 less games, but still had a .060 higher batting average and 5 more home runs. Trout also had a larger on base percentage and slugging percentage. He had a walk percentage of 20.1%, while Harper had a strikeout percentage of 24.3%. Lastly, the most shocking, Trout had a WAR of 9.8 compared to Harper’s 3.5. This alone proves that Trout is better, not to mention that Trout has more MVP awards.
WAR is a measurement used in baseball to determine one’s worth to their team in games that they play. Trout has a career WAR of 64.3, which ranks 4th among current players. The top three are Puljos, Cano, and Caberra. All three of those players are above 35 years old, Trout is 27. Harper is 54th on the list, with a 27.4 WAR. To find the next guy in his 20’s on the list, you have to go down to #20 and it is Giancarlo Stanton with a 39.2 WAR. With the numbers Trout has been producing, it’s hard to imagine people thinking there is another player that is better than him, so it brings the question: Could Mike Trout get $500 million?
My answer is simple: yes. He COULD, but he won’t. Trout is going to set the new stage of contracts. Yes, Harper and Machado signed record breaking contracts, but Trout will too. His contract is up at the end of 2020, which is in 2 years. Mookie Betts will be up after this season and he will set the new standard, probably $350 million. I expect Trout to get at least $400 million over the course of 10-13 years. He will set the new bar that other players will be trying to reach for years to come.