When Mike Trout signed a $ 430 million, 12-year contract to stay with the Los Angeles Angels, he immediately made history. This amount is – by far – the largest guaranteed amount a professional athlete has ever received. Trout’s average salary will be almost $ 36 million.
It’s a big responsibility: if you really want to dramatize things, Trout was basically responsible for saving baseball. The Angels will seek to return to the front of the stage with him, and his new signature is a major gesture in a summer where free star agents have seen their contractual negotiations drag on.
While Trout is now officially the highest paid athlete in the world, he is hardly the only one earning a ton of money. Let’s take a look at the ten biggest contracts in the history of professional sport. Note that these agreements must be officially cited, so football stars like Lionel Messi will not make a difference, as their official agreements have never been confirmed. We also only look at contracts that were guaranteed – this does not take into account performance or promotional bonuses.
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels – 12 years old, $ 430 million
Since becoming a full-time major league in 2012, Trout has formed seven all-star teams and won two AL MVP awards. However, this did not translate into great team success. The Angels only played in the playoffs once during this period and were swept during the 2014 playoffs. Trout will have to lead the Angels on several deep playoffs to really make it a worthy deal. It’s probably not fair to put so much weight on a player’s shoulders, but again, no one has ever made so much money before.
Canelo Alvarez, DAZN – 5 years, $ 365 million
Trout can hold the record for most funds, but Alvarez blows it out of the water when it comes to annual wages. The boxer signed a five-year, 11-fight contract last October with DAZN streaming service. The contract will bring him $ 73 million a year, with each fight worth around $ 33.18 million.
Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies – 13, $ 330 million
After Harper signed his agreement, it was only a matter of time before boyfriend Trout also received a major overtime. The Harper Free Agency saga dragged on for almost the entire offseason; he signed about a month before the opening day. Eventually he left Washington to join a rival from NL East. The Phillies played two consecutive World Series games in 2008 and 2009, but have not had a winning record since 2011. Harper is expected to immediately help restore the team’s fortunes.
Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins – 13, $ 325 million
It is the largest contract on this list that has not been signed in the past year. Stanton signed again with the Marlins as part of this massive deal, but was handed over to the Yankees two seasons later. This means that the Bronx Bombers get the majority of the tab on Stanton. However, if Stanton does not retire from his contract after the 2020 season, the Yankees will receive $ 30 million in relief from the Marlins’ salary cap.
Manny Machado, San Diego Padres – 10 years, $ 300 million
Remember when Machado got the biggest MLB offseason contract in 2019? So long ago. The Padres have struggled a great deal in relative anonymity over the past decade, so signing a star like Machado is a huge deal. However, there is a catch: Machado can retire after five seasons. If he doesn’t like the state of the team at this point, the Padres will lose him for nothing.
Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees – 10 years old, $ 275 million
A-Rod reneged on its existing agreement in 2007 to sign a $ 275 million 10-year extension with the New York Yankees. The end of Rodriguez’s career was marred by injuries and scandals. And throughout his stay, he was a polarizing figure in New York, playing alongside the hero of the hometown Derek Jeter. But Rodriguez recovered his only World Series ring during this contract, helping the Yankees beat the Phillies in 2009. It was the franchise’s last World Series victory.
Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies – 8 years old, $ 260 million
Arenado is no stranger to the long ball, having completed at least 37 home runs in the past four seasons. Although critics may say it’s because he plays half of his games at Coors Field, the Rockies were always smart about locking him up. In addition to four All-Star appearances, Arenado is a defensive wizard. He has won a gold glove every season he has been in the league.
Alex Rodriguez, Texas Rangers – 10 years, $ 252 million
Rodriguez is the only player to appear twice on this list. This agreement in 2000 set the bar for massive MLB contracts. He only spent three years with the Rangers, winning the AL MVP award in 2003, but failed to make the playoffs during his tenure with the team. The Rangers traded Rodriguez for the Yankees before the 2004 season. Four years later, he signed a new agreement (at the time) setting a record for staying in New York.
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers – 8 years old, $ 247 million
Cabrera’s contract is a little different from some of the others on this list in that it started after going beyond its peak. In 2014, the Tigers offered their first leading player an eight-year extension from 2016. Cabrera was 33 when the deal started, and he’ll be in his forties at the end. Injury is also a risk – Cabrera spent most of 2017 playing with two herniated discs in the back and only played 38 games last season due to hamstring and bicep injuries.
Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels – 10 years, $ 240 million
In 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pujols has formed nine all-star teams and won three MVP awards. He also led the league with points scored five times, hits and base percentages three times each, home runs twice and a batting average once. Since the signing of this agreement with the Angels in 2012, Pujols has only formed one All-Star team in 2015. And the only statistical categories in which he has led the league? Rooted in double games, which he did twice (in 2014 and 2017). Pujols also hasn’t hit more than 0.285 since joining the Angels. He is still a future Hall of Famer, but it will be largely based on what he did before signing this contract.
Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners – 10 years, $ 240 million
Before the 2014 season, Cano signed this agreement with the Mariners. He refused a $ 175 million, seven-year contract to stay with the Yankees. Cano has played three all-star games in five seasons with the Mariners, but was suspended 80 games last year for performance-enhancing drugs. The Mariners traded it to the Mets during the off-season. Cano quickly hit a home run when he first met his new team.