What's next after you spin the wheel of fate and sign the largest contract extension in baseball history? Twists and turns galore. And for Mike Trout, the rare talent poised to dominate both this generation and the next one, the path to retirement in Multimillionaire Estates will be a checkerboard of choices and chance.
March 19, 2019: Trout and the LA Angels agree to a 12-year, $430 million contract extension.
2019: Still two months younger than AL rookie of the year Yusei Kikuchi, Trout overtakes Johnny Bench for 47th in career WAR.
2020: Like Babe Ruth, Trout posts his career-best WAR as a 28- year-old, with 13.9, and comes within one homer and one steal of baseball's first 50/40 season.
2021: Privately, Trout hectors Angels owner Arte Moreno into signing Mookie Betts. Publicly, he also recruits Giancarlo Stanton on Instagram with a countdown of the 30 best burritos in LA.
2022: As labor negotiations stall, #LetMikeGetStats dominates social media. Afraid of costing Trout the chance to break any number of records, owners buckle-and the MLBPA wins expanded free agency rights.
2023: At 31, Trout passes Mickey Mantle in career WAR, and every person who called him "the next Mickey Mantle" must publicly apologize for being "way off."
2024: Trout "signs" with the Eagles' practice squad. The stunt goes too far when leaked video reveals he's one of the world's best football players. He plays one NFL game (six tackles, one kickoff return TD) and promptly retires to focus on baseball.
2025: To combat rising strikeout rates, MLB moves the mound back to 62 feet, and Trout enters the final weekend with 60 homers. Astros pitchers are ordered to intentionally walk him 13 times, causing one hurler to quit in protest and another to sob on the mound.
2026: Like Willie Mays, Trout posts a career-best WAR as a 34-year-old. His .600 OBP is driven by leaguewide panic: Trout is intentionally walked 121 times, and MLB considers ways to make the game "Trout-proof." A "dead" ball will be introduced in 2028.
2027: Paul Thomas Anderson casts Trout in a film adaptation of The Kid Who Only Hit Homers. Initially savaged as "flat" and "affectless," Trout's performance is later reassessed as a "haunting portrayal of Sisyphean imprisonment."
2028: Home runs plummet against the new dead ball. Trout adjusts his swing and carries a .3996 batting average into the final game of the season. Like Ted Williams, he plays-but goes 1-for-3 with two walks, finishing at .399.
2029: Trout signs an extension that he promises will keep him on the Angels through retirement. A sculptor begins work on a 27-foot statue outside New Angel Stadium.
2030: As Trout approaches the career WAR mark, confusion erupts over which website's WAR is the actual record. MLB convenes a committee to unify the models, and when Trout breaks the new mlbWAR record-passing Babe Ruth's 163.8-it's widely accepted as the definitive statistical baseball record.
2031: The Angels finally win the World Series. As teammates shower him with champagne, Trout admits his knees have hurt since 2020 and announces his retirement. He says this was all "really neat."