Mike Trout and his agent were not smiling on Saturday. (USA Today)With Mike Trout still two years away from arbitration eligibility and negotiations with the team over his 2013 salary remaining a significant distance apart, the Los Angeles Angels exercised their right to renew his contract at a salary basically of their choosing.
The number the Angels ultimately settled on was $510,000, which is just $20,000 over the league minimum, about $28,000 more than he earned in 2012 (Trout spent April in the minors), and approximately 1/40th of what they‘ll be paying Vernon Wells.
Of course they also have a ton of money tied in contracts with Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, right on down the roster. But seriously, $510,000 is the best they can do?
That's just me writing. Now I'll give you one guess how well this went over with Trout's agent Craig Landis.
“During the process, on behalf of Mike, I asked only that the Angels compensate Mike fairly for his historic 2012 season, given his service time,” Landis, said in an email. “In my opinion, this contract falls well short of a ‘fair’ contract, and I have voiced this to the Angels throughout the process.”
Outside of the Angels organization, Landis won't find too many arguments with that assessment. The number is flat out insulting for a player who posted a .326/.399/.564 slash line with 30 homers and 49 steals in just over five months of action. And that's not to mention the fact we're talking about a 20-year-old rookie who was just as good, if not better, in the field than he was at the plate.
It was a remarkable season. It was a historic season on many levels. It was even an MVP caliber season under just about any circumstances. He just happened to do it in a year Miguel Cabrera hit for the Triple Crown.
The frustration, anger, whatever you want to call it that's expressed here is certainly justified, but Landis did go on to assure Angels fans that Trout won't allow the disappointment of the contract become a distraction entering his sophomore season.
“The renewal of Mike's contract will put an end of this discussion,” Landis said. “As when he learned he would not be the team's primary center fielder for the upcoming season, Mike will put the disappointment behind him and focus on helping the Angels reach their goal of winning the 2013 World Series.”
That's all well and good, but you can bet this contract renewal will be remembered quickly once Trout hits arbitration and/or begins negotiating a longer term contract down the road. In fact, we saw a similar situation play out with Prince Fielder back in 2008 and we all know how that ended up. With that in mind, it might be a good idea for general manager Jerry Dipoto and company to right this wrong quickly or they'll end up paying for it one way or another.
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