Next up in the “Richest Contracts” series, we have the AL West. This division has some of the largest deals in MLB history. The AL West was mainly led by one big contract but has recently seen more big deals done. The AL West with the Angels, Athletics, Astros, Mariners, and Rangers, has brought in some elite talent. That being said, let’s break down the largest contracts in AL West history.
Largest free agent contract: Billy Butler, 1B/DH (three years/$30M, 2015)
Largest contract extension: Eric Chavez, 3B (six years/$66M, 2004)
We start the AL West version of the “Richest Contracts” series with the very quiet Athletics, at least money-wise. If Billy Butler is your biggest investment then your club clearly has not had the funds to get a big-name free agent. Butler joined the A’s after eight years in KC for the Royals. He would play 236 total games in Oakland before being released in September of 2016 just before his deal expired.
For extension deals, the Eric Chavez deal is about as exciting as gets and that isn’t saying much. Chavez won three Gold Gloves in Oakland which led to him earning an extension. He played out the entire extension deal in Oakland which was a plus. He would join the Yankees and Diamondbacks to close out his career. Again, if this is the largest deal then there is not much to be excited about. Oakland had guys like Matt Olson (now a Brave) and Yoenis Cespedes but no deals kept them around.
Largest free agent contract: Carlos Lee, 1B/LF (six years/$100M, 2007)
Largest contract extension: Jose Altuve, 2B (five years/$151M, 2018)
Next up we have the Houston Astros who spent more than the Athletics but don’t need money to win games. They win games and World Series titles in different ways that involve trash cans and controversy. I digress, but the Carlos Lee signing in 2007 was a productive one. Lee played five and a half years of that contract before being traded to the Marlins where he finished the deal.
As far as contract extensions, it is no surprise that Jose Altuve holds the record. The 2017 American League MVP signed the deal not long after winning the World Series. Altuve has proven to be the centerpiece of the Astros franchise. His contract expires in 2024 which is not far away now so it will be interesting to see what Houston does. After moving on from star shortstop Carlos Correa, clearly Houston knows when the money isn’t right.
Largest free agent contract: Robinson Canó, 2B (10 years/$240M, 2014)
Largest contract extension: Félix Hernández, RHP (seven years/$175M, 2013)
Now we are starting to get into the mega contracts of the AL West. The Mariners might not have signed a big deal in in the past five seasons but there is still big money here. Robinson Canó sported the Yankees pinstripes for nine years before joining the Mariners. He joined Seattle following four straight top six MVP finishes, Silver Slugger Awards and All-Star selections. Five years into the mega deal, The Mariners traded him and Edwin Díaz in a deal to the Mets.
To no surprise, King Félix holds the record for contract extensions for the Mariners. Félix Hernández played his entire career in a Mariner uniform. His extension kept him in Seattle through 2019 for a “farewell” tour. He pitched his “goodbye” game in their final homestand cementing his fantastic career in Seattle. Only fitting the biggest extension deal goes to the most loyal Mariner player.
Largest free agent contract: Corey Seager, SS (10 years/$325M, 2022)
Largest contract extension: Elvis Andrus, SS (eight years/$120M, 2013)
The second biggest spenders in the division are now the Texas Rangers. The Rangers waited to spend their money and they got some superstar names. It is worth noting they signed Marcus Semien to a deal worth $175 million over seven years. Then when the Rangers seemed to be done, they signed former Dodgers superstar Corey Seager. Seagers deal is now the second largest free agent deal in MLB history behind only Bryce Harper. Almost 20 years after signing Alex Rodriguez to a 10-year, $252 million deal, the largest by total value at the time, the Rangers have broke the bank again.
Elvis Andrus was another definition of “career player”. Andrus played for the Rangers and started at shortstop every year he was in Texas. As a rookie in 2009, he finished second in the Rookie of the Year race. By the time he received his extension deal, he had become a full time starter and would stay that way until he was traded to the A’s in 2021.
Los Angeles Angels
Largest free agent contract: Anthony Rendon, 3B (seven years/$245M, 2020)
Largest contract extension: Mike Trout, OF (10 years/$360M, 2019)
And now for the grand finale of the AL West, the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels have written the big checks to lead the AL West with the largest contract totals. The Angels largest free agent deal and contract extension for only two players totals nearly $800 million. The free agent deal for Anthony Rendon brought him in after winning a World Series title with the Nationals. Rendon has been a key contributor to the Angels since signing his big deal.
The second largest contract in North American professional sports history belongs to Mike Trout. This is also the second largest contract extension in MLB history. Trout’s deal still had an existing two years and $66.5 million from his prior extension. So the full contract is for 12 years and $426.5 million in total which trails only Patrick Mahomes ($450 million but could exceed $500 million) in North American professional sports contracts. Only fitting that one of the best players in all of baseball has one of the highest valued contracts in any sport.
Want more MLB content? Check out our website here and check the website for the next divisions highest contracts!