This offseason, if the Angels are looking to spend a large sum of money, there is just one place that it should go.
He wears #27 on his jersey and is arguably already the best player in the game after just two seasons.
Mike Trout might have four years left before free agency, but if owner Arte Moreno has any sense of just how important the 22-year-old phenom is to the franchise, then this would be the offseason to do it.
Just how huge have Trout's first two years been? In his rookie season, Trout came within one stolen base of becoming the first player in American League history, and third overall, to hit 30 home runs and steal 50 bases in a season. He also led the majors in runs scored (129) and finished second in the AL in batting average (.326) to Miguel Cabrera.
The season led to one of the most debated AL Most Valuable Player votes in recent memory, a vote won by Cabrera on the strength of becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
But if people expected Trout to experience the inevitable sophomore slump, he put that to rest by once again finishing third in the AL in batting average (.323) and leading the league in both runs scored (109) and walks (110). Trout also ended up with three less strikeouts than the previous season despite racking up an additional 77 plate appearances by playing the full season.
Trout also shattered Rickey Henderson's AL record for most times reaching base before his age-22 season.
This has led to one of the most anticipated offseasons for a player with so little major league experience. However, Trout has acknowledged that the Angels do have full control over his contract this year and then three seasons of arbitration eligibility.
"I just gotta go out there and keep playing. My time is going to come, that's the way I look at it," Trout said in an interview with Reuters released on Thursday. "They own me for the next four years or so, we'll see what happens. I like it in Anaheim. Just got to wait and do my time.
"The first three years the team has you under contract the team can basically do whatever it wants. I just got to go with it."
However, Moreno really has a duty to the fans and to his franchise value to keep his franchise player happy. The best way to do that is to offer him the moon. An 11-year deal in the neighborhood of $240 million with a bell curve to it would probably get it locked up.
Do the first four years of the deal at an average annual value of around $8 million, then kicking it up to an AAV of $30 million for the next four and then a small dropoff in the final three seasons to an AAV of $25 million, then the signing bonus to take it to the final number.
With those numbers and a willingness to pay him significantly more than the renewal value for 2014, it would be very difficult for either Trout or his agent, LSW Baseball, to turn that money down.