What will Mike Trout be worth as a Free Agent?

It is indisputable that Mike Trout is the best player in the game right now. From 2012 to the present (previous 7 seasons), Trout has amassed 64.0 WAR per Fangraphs (approximately 9 WAR annually). The next player on that list is Josh Donaldson (36.8 WAR), who is eons away. Fangraphs Depth Charts projections estimate that Trout will be worth a whopping 9.2 WAR next season. To put that in perspective, Machado (5.0) and Harper (4.9) are projected to accrue a combined 9.9 WAR.

Trout is a .307 career hitter and his (career) OBP is over .416. He stole 24 bases last year and slugged 39 big flies. His defensive marks are impressive as well; Trout saved 8 runs defensively last season in the OF.

In 2 years, Trout is scheduled to become a free agent. Here is what Jon Heyman has to say in regards to Trout…

Regardless who they sign this winter, phillies will make a big play for mike trout in 2 years — provided he hasn’t signed an extension, of course.
LAAngels will try to extend Trout this winter, but while he likes it there, the whispers are that an extension now is unlikely.

We will now attempt to calculate what Trout would be worth as a FA through applying age decline and the average cost / 1 WAR to Trout’s 2019 Depth Charts projections.

In Neil Weinberg’s Beginner’s Guide To Aging Curves, he explains that…

“a basic rule of thumb is that once a player gets to 30, you sort of expect them to lose about 0.5 WAR per year of value due to aging. Some players will age better or worse, but that’s an average estimate”.

Another one of his articles talked about the price teams pay per 1 WAR on the FA market. Neil Weinberg asserts that…

$/WAR is basically a measurement of how much teams are paying for players on the free agent market according to how many wins they will add over replacement level players. Right now, we think teams are paying about $8 million per every WAR they add to their roster. For example, a 2 WAR player signed for three years would theoretically provide his team with 6 WAR, so a team might want to pay him anything up to $48 million. If the team pays less than $8 million for each expected WAR, we call this a “good deal” and if they pay more, we say they “overpaid.”

For the purpose of this investigation, let’s assume Trout is worth 9.2 WAR (2019 Fangraphs’ Depth Charts projection) in 2021 (would be 1st season with new team), and from that point forward, he loses 0.5 WAR annually…

Trout’s WAR projections by year along with the corresponding monetary cost (based on __ WAR * $8 million / 1 WAR)

2021 (age 29 season season): 9.2; $73.6 million

2022: 8.7; $69.6 million

2023 (age 31 season): 8.2; $65.6 million

2024: 7.7; $61.6 million

2025 (age 33 season): 7.2; $57.6 million

2026: 6.7; $53.6 million

2027 (age 35 season): 6.2; $49.6 million

2028: 5.7; $45.6 million

2029 (age 37 season): 5.2; $41.6 million

2030: 4.7; $37.6 million

2031 (age 39 season): 4.2; $33.6 million

2032: 3.7; $29.6 million

2033 (age 41 season): 3.2; $25.6 million

2034: 2.7; $21.6 million

2035 (age 43 season): 2.2; $17.6 million

2036: 1.7; $13.6 million

2037 (age 45 season): 1.2; $9.6 million

2038: 0.7; $5.6 million

2039: 0.2; $1.6 million

Trout contract possibilities:

  • 1 yr, $73.6 million
  • 2 yr, $143.2 million
  • 3 yr, $208.8 million
  • 4 yr, $270.4 million
  • 5 yr, $328 million
  • 6 yr, $381.6 million
  • 7 yr, $431.2 million
  • 8 yr, $476.8 million
  • 9 yr, $518.4 million
  • 10 yr, $556 million
  • 11 yr, $589.6 million
  • 12 yr, $619.2 million
  • 13 yr, $644.8 million
  • 14 yr, $666.4 million
  • 15 yr, $684 million
  • 16 yr, $697.6 million
  • 17 yr, $707.2 million
  • 18 yr, $712.8 million
  • 19 yr, $714.4 million

Thanks for reading.

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