In this post, we’ll break down the five largest sports contracts in history and see who is currently at the top.
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Mike Trout- Los Angeles Angels
As of 2019, the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout has the largest contract in baseball, valued at $430 million over 12 years. The Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper comes in a close second, with a 13-year, $330 million deal. Trout’s deal is also the most valuable contract ever given to a professional athlete in North America, surpassing the previous record of $426 million, set by NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Bryce Harper- Philadelphia Phillies
As of 2019, Bryce Harper has the largest sports contract in MLB history, worth $330 million over 13 years. The contract includes a full no-trade clause and no opt-outs. Harper’s annual average salary of $25.38 million is the highest in baseball history. The Philadelphia Phillies signed Harper to this record-breaking deal in March of 2019.
Harper, a right fielder, became a free agent at the end of the 2018 season after nine seasons with the Washington Nationals. In his career, Harper has been selected for six All-Star teams and has won one Silver Slugger Award and one National League MVP Award. He was also the youngest player in MLB history to be named an All-Star starter, at the age of 19.
Gerrit Cole- New York Yankees
American professional baseball pitcher Gerrit Cole signed a record-breaking nine-year, $324 million contract with the New York Yankees in December 2019. The contract, which is the largest ever for a Major League Baseball player, will see Cole earn an annual salary of $36 million.
Nolan Arenado- Colorado Rockies
In 2019, third baseman Nolan Arenado signed an eight-year, $260 million contract extension with the Colorado Rockies. This made him the highest-paid player in baseball history, a title he still holds today.
The extension is structured as follows: Arenado will make $32.5 million in 2020 and 2021, $35 million in 2022 and 2023, $37.5 million in 2024 and 2025, and $32.5 million each in 2026 and 2027. There is a mutual option for the 2028 season that vests if Arenado meets certain plate appearance thresholds in 2027, and if he declines the option, he will receive a $15 million buyout.
All told, Arenado is set to earn a guaranteed $234 million over the next eight seasons (not counting the potential buyout). If he meets all of his vesting options, he could ultimately earn as much as $325 million from this deal.
Manny Machado- San Diego Padres
Manny Machado, who plays for the San Diego Padres, signed a 10-year, $300 million contract in February 2019. This is the largest deal in major league baseball history, surpassing the record set by Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins in 2014. Stanton’s 13-year, $325 million contract had been the largest in baseball, but Machado’s average annual value of $30 million is the highest ever.
The Padres are hoping that Machado’s signing will help them compete for a World Series title. The team has not won a championship since 1998 and has not made it to the postseason since 2006.
Machado is a four-time All-Star and has won two Gold Glove Awards. He is considered one of the best young players in baseball.