At Friday’s press conference to introduce new Yankee Jacoby Ellsbury, Levine answered questions about the team losing Robinson Cano to the Seattle Mariners. Cano agreed to a 10-year, $240 million contract with Seattle, which was much than the Yankees offered him.
Levine explained that the team has a policy against giving players over 30 10-year deals, and that’s when he mentioned Trout.
“If Mike Trout was here, I would recommend a 10-year contract. But for people over 30, I don’t believe it makes sense. I don’t think Hal thinks it makes sense. We were very clear about that.”
Though Levine might not have made a premeditated comment, his remark gets the thought out there that the Yankees are willing to open the vault for Trout when the time comes. Because of that, MLB was said to be investigating Levine for tampering. Levine already says he has called the Angels to apologize.
“When I was talking about Mike Trout, I was using it as an example of the type of player because of his age, we would consider giving a 10-year deal to. I realized it could be misconstrued, so I called John Carpino, the president of the Angels, and apologized to him for any inconvenience. I spoke to Major League Baseball and apologized to them and my understanding is the matter is over,” Levine said in a statement, via Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.
Trout just completed his second full season and will be arbitration eligible for 2015-2017 before becoming a free agent for the 2018 season. The Angels control him until then, but there is a strong possibility they could lost him after that.
Trout and his agent were upset with the Angels for snubbing him on his team-controlled salary last season. The MVP candidate also has made it sound like he’s open to playing elsewhere when the time comes. We’re another four years away from seeing it happen, but it already seems like Trout going to the Yankees is a strong possibility.
And I don’t care what people think: this absolutely is tampering. You think I enjoy the richest team in baseball talking about giving a 10-year contract to my team’s best player? You don’t think the Angels are ticked about the Yankees screwing with their guy? Of course they are! Back off, Yankees.