Who Has the Largest Contract in Major League Baseball?

The Major League Baseball (MLB) has dozens of players with lucrative, long-term contracts that guarantee them millions of dollars over the course of their professional careers. As the sport continues to expand, so too do the financial rewards for its stars. With that in mind, let’s take a look at who holds the record for the largest contract in MLB history and what that means for the sport and its players.

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Background: The History of MLB Contracts

The Evolution of MLB Contracts

In the early days of baseball, contracts were not as lucrative as they are today. The first professional baseball players were paid a salary that was far lower than what players make today. This was largely due to the fact that the sport was not as popular and did not generate as much revenue.

In the early 1900s, teams began offering players “reserve clauses” which allowed teams to retain players for multiple seasons without having to negotiate a new contract each season. These clauses were eventually abolished in 1975 and replaced with the modern system of free agency, allowing players to negotiate with any team that showed interest. This allowed players to negotiate larger contracts and opened the door for the massive contracts that we see today.

Rise of the Star Power

As the popularity of baseball grew, so did the salaries of star players. Many superstars began to emerge in the 1920s and 1930s, and with them came the demand for higher salaries. This demand was driven by fans, who wanted to see their favorite players remain with their teams, as well as owners, who recognized the value of having a star player on their roster.

Today, the MLB is flush with star power, as teams have begun to pay top dollar for the best players in the game. This has led to a new era of massive contracts for the game’s top stars.

Who Owns the Largest Contract in MLB History?

The largest contract in MLB history belongs to Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout. In 2019, Trout signed a 12-year, $426.5 million extension with the Angels, making him the highest-paid player in MLB history. The deal also includes a full no-trade clause, meaning Trout cannot be traded without his consent.

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Trout’s contract is the largest in MLB history, surpassing the previous record-holder, Giancarlo Stanton, who signed a 13-year, $325 million deal with the Miami Marlins in 2014.

The Impact of Trout’s Contract

Trout’s contract is sure to have a major impact on the MLB. For starters, his deal puts pressure on other star players to sign similar contracts. In addition, Trout’s deal sets a new benchmark for the market value of top players, and it could potentially lead to owners offering similar deals to lesser players in order to remain competitive.

Finally, Trout’s deal could have an effect on the league’s labor negotiations. With Trout now making more money than any other player in the league, the MLB Players Association could use his deal as leverage in negotiations with the league.

Subsequent Contracts

Since Trout signed his record-breaking contract, several other MLB players have inked deals that come close to matching his record. The following players have signed contracts that come close to Trout’s record-breaking deal:

• Bryce Harper: 13-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies

• Manny Machado: 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres

• Nolan Arenado: 8-year, $260 million deal with the Colorado Rockies

• Gerrit Cole: 9-year, $324 million deal with the New York Yankees

These deals demonstrate that Trout’s contract is not a one-off, but rather the start of a new era of record-breaking contracts for baseball’s biggest stars.

The Effect on the Free Agent Market

The influx of massive contracts for star players could have a significant impact on the MLB’s free agent market. With teams now willing to pay top dollar for the best players in the game, players who are not considered stars may be left out in the cold. This could lead to a situation in which teams are unwilling to sign free agents to long-term, big-money deals.

Conclusion

Mike Trout’s record-breaking contract is sure to have a major impact on the MLB. His deal sets a new benchmark for the market value of star players and could potentially lead to owners offering similar deals to lesser players in order to remain competitive. In addition, Trout’s deal could have an effect on the league’s labor negotiations, as well as the free agent market. Only time will tell how Trout’s record-breaking contract will shape the future of baseball.