9:00 AM ET
ANAHEIM, Calif. — It all began with a simple question, posed around the middle of last summer. The Los Angeles Angels‘ three most important decision-makers — owner Arte Moreno, president John Carpino and general manager Billy Eppler — wanted to know if Mike Trout would listen to offers ahead of free agency. They asked his agent, Craig Landis, who relayed the message to Trout, who rationalized the dilemma with on-brand simplicity: Yes, he would listen, and yes, if the numbers made sense, he would consider it.
That seed finally sprouted on Sunday afternoon on a makeshift stage in front of the main gate at Angel Stadium, as approximately 3,500 fans arrived early for an exhibition game to celebrate the 12-year, $426.5 million extension that made Trout the richest athlete in North America.
Trout said it “never crossed my mind” that he wouldn’t return to the Angels, not even when it seemed that the rest of the world was picturing him in the Northeast. The Angels signed Trout through the 2030 season, by which point he will be 39 years old. They secured the greatest player of his generation for his entire career two years before he