This time last year Mike Trout and his agent were upset with the Los Angeles Angels for low-balling him on his team-designated salary for the season. A year later, the Angels have more than made up with Trout by giving him a record salary for a pre-arbitration player.
The Angels and Trout agreed Wednesday to a one-year, $1 million deal for 2014. The amount tops the $900,000 the Phillies paid Ryan Howard in 2007 and makes Trout the highest-paid pre-arb player in MLB history.
Teams control players for their first six years in the league and get to designate the player’s salary for the first three seasons, so long as the amount is at least the minimum. Players become arbitration-eligible for seasons 4-6, which allows them the chance to begin making more money. They can hit free agency after six years in the bigs. It’s expected that a player’s salary will rise each year they’re in the majors (as long as they’re producing), but a salary bump for Trout of nearly double his 2013 pay was not expected.
“For Arte (Moreno) and the Angels going out of their way … you know they could have easily paid me the league minimum — or whatever they wanted to do — but they stepped out and gave me a million, and I’m happy for it. It makes you feel good about the organization,” Trout said during a visit with ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” crew on Thursday.
“Yeah I’m happy where I’m at right now. Happy to be here and excited for the year,” Trout said.
This is a great sign for the Angels. Not only was Trout unhappy with the Angels last year for only paying him $20,000 above the league minimum last year, but he also made some indications that he might be willing to leave the team in free agency. He might still be interested in doing that, but at least the Angels are working hard to smooth things over with their franchise player.
There’s another good sign between Trout and the team. Trout said during the “Baseball Tonight” interview that he feels comfortable in center field and is happy to be starting the season there now that Peter Bourjos has been traded. Last year they moved him to left to start the season even though he was spectacular in center the year before. Trout did not play well defensively in left but he regained his MVP-type form after Bourjos got hurt, leading him to move back to his preferred position.Google+