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Mike Trout’s agent disappointed with Angels over contract renewal price

Mike TroutMike Trout’s agent, Craig Landis, is disappointed with the Angels over the amount of money for which they chose to renew his client’s contract.

Trout just completed his rookie season for the Angels. MLB players with 0-3 years of service time are paid what the team chooses (so long as it’s over the minimum). Players are arbitration eligible from years 4-6, and they become free agents after six years of service time.

Because he only has one year of service time, the Angels had the right to pay Trout whatever they chose. They opted to renew his contract for $510,000, which is just $20,000 more than the minimum salary.

“In my opinion, this contract falls well short of a ‘fair’ contract and I have voiced this to the Angels throughout the process,” agent Craig Landis said Saturday, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.

Landis reportedly said Trout was also disappointed with the amount of money for which the Angels chose to renew his contract.

Teams generally renew the contracts of players’ with 0-3 years of service time in one of two ways: increasing their pay based on service time, or on performance. The Angels operate on the former method, which is why Mark Trumbo received more money ($540,000) than Trout despite having an inferior season.

For context, there is some precedent for teams renewing young players’ contracts for raises if they have performed well.

Tim Lincecum won the Cy Young Award in his second season and was paid $650,000 by the San Francisco Giants the following season (the minimum salary was $400,000). Ryan Howard won Rookie of the Year in 2006 and was paid $355,000 the next season by the Philadelphia Phillies (minimum salary was $327,000). He won MVP in his second season and was renewed for a record $900,000 the following year.

Not only did Landis say Trout is disappointed with his contract renewal price, but he also said his client was disappointed the Angels moved him away from center field.

“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,” Landis said, per The Register.

The Angels better hope neither factor adversely affects their best player.

Though it seems absurd that Trout is making so little money, these are part of the rules the players union agreed to during collective bargaining. They are also important rules; if teams couldn’t control the costs of young players, smaller-market clubs would have even less of a chance to compete because player salaries would escalate quickly. There should be a reward to clubs that draft well.

As long as he remains productive, Trout will be pulling in millions by the time he enters arbitration, and he’ll be in line for at least a $200 million contract when free agency comes. He and his agent should be patient and worry about more important matters, though I do think a team that spent $240 million on Albert Pujols and $125 million for Josh Hamilton could have sprung for an extra $100-200k for Trout. He certainly earned it.

Angels to have five Mike Trout giveaways, none for Jered Weaver or Josh Hamilton

The Los Angeles Angels enter the 2013 season with a roster filled with superstars, but none may be more popular than Mike Trout. The 21-year-old burst onto the scene last year and was one of the best players in baseball. Had it not been for Miguel Cabrera winning the Triple Crown, Trout could have easily taken home the American League MVP award.

How popular is Trout in LA? Of the eight giveaway promotions the Angels will be holding this season featuring individual players, five have to do with Trout. As the LA Times called to our attention, the team will be giving away Trout bobblehead dolls, kids’ jerseys, blankets, hats and drinking glasses. Albert Pujols, CJ Wilson and Mark Trumbo make up the other three player promotions, meaning no love for Jered Weaver or Josh Hamilton.

It seems there is no question who the most popular player is on a team that has realistic World Series aspirations. Fans are already more than capable of identifying Trout when they see him on the street, and the youngster seems to be enjoying the ride.

“Everywhere I go, I hear my name whispered: ‘That’s Trout! That’s Trout!'” he said. “You can only do this one time.”

Angels vice president of communications Tim Mead said it was a no-brainer for the team to capitalize on Trout’s popularity with the way he performed in 2012.

“If Albert had been the MVP last year, perhaps there would be the same items pushing that,” Mead said.

Amen to that. When a player robs not one, not two, not three, but four home runs over the course of a season, it’s no surprise that he becomes a fan favorite. Mix in his .326 batting average, 30 homers, 49 stolen bases and that massive fish he caught over the summer and you see why Trout could soon become the most popular player in America.

Firing hitting coach Mickey Hatcher is a big step for Angels’ organization

The Angels announced a major move on Tuesday when they fired hitting coach Mickey Hatcher and replaced him with Triple-A hitting coach Jim Eppard. The switch means much more than a potential for the team’s hitting to improve; it indicates a major change within the organization.

Hatcher was one of Mike Scioscia’s original assistant coaches from the time he took over as Angels manager in 2000. He is the first Scioscia assistant to be fired (previous assistant coaches Joe Maddon and Bud Black moved on to managerial gigs). The two were teammates with the Dodgers and Scioscia has been incredibly loyal to Hatcher, riding with him through the team’s ups-and-downs. But the organization finally decided to fire him on Tuesday.

Many people believe Hatcher was fired in part because he upset Albert Pujols a few weeks ago. They feel the firing was a response to that issue, and that the move indicates Pujols is running the team.

I think it signifies that there is another powerful voice in the organization, but it’s not Pujols'; GM Jerry DiPoto is now the one running the show.

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MLB teams with biggest offseasons are struggling the most

One month of the baseball season has passed. Albert Pujols has as many home runs on May 2nd as he did on December 2nd. The Dodgers are in first place, this time not just for being one of the Major Leagues’ most mismanaged teams. Who would have predicted this would be the case? Maybe it has something to do with Magic? Probably not, unless Mike Scioscia has achieved wizard status for making Bobby Abreu magically disappear.

On the other side of the country, a team taking a cue from the Angels experimented with a place-name change in addition to an increase in payroll spending but has found no less refuge from early season struggles. The Miami Marlins have been harpooned by the rest of the National League. Like the Angels, who spent hordes of money on Pujols, C.J. Wilson, and others in the offseason, Miami went fishing in the offseason and reeled in Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell. However, if it weren’t for the glare of the bright orange hue on their new duds (emphasis on duds), they might be forgotten altogether having been marooned in the basement of the NL East with an 8-14 record.

Baseball can oftentimes be a fickle game. Over the last two decades, payroll spending has increased dramatically, teams gobbling up high-priced, under-producing veterans at the rate that Mitt Romney acquires suits. The results have been mixed. The 1990s Atlanta Braves built talented teams from within, yet won only one title. The New York Yankees used a lot of homegrown players to capture four titles in five years. Yet, they found that trying to buy a championship with high-money castoffs resulted in the team handing over a giant novelty check’s-worth of payroll penalties to the Commissioner’s office with only one World Series win to show for their troubles since their once budget eclipsed $100 million after 2000. Meanwhile, the Marlins essentially won two titles on credit in 1997 and 2003 while the Angels, White Sox, Giants, and others found a way to win a title without necessarily breaking the bank.

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Angels call up Mike Trout after releasing Bobby Abreu

The Angels promoted prospect Mike Trout and released Bobby Abreu on Friday in response to the team’s early-season struggles.

The Angels are 6-14, have lost five in a row, and are currently one of the worst teams in the American League. They’re tied for last in the AL with 13 home runs, tied for the third-fewest runs scored, and third-worst in slugging percentage. They’re hoping the 20-year-old Trout can give them an offensive spark.

GM Jerry DiPoto described the move as one designed to “add a little energy, get some spice … shake it up a little bit.”

Trout, who hit .220 with five home runs in 120 at-bats last season, was tearing the cover off the ball in the minors. The former first-round pick of the Angels was batting .402 and OPSing 1.091 through his first 20 games in Salt Lake City. Abreu had a miserable spring and was batting .208 with three extra-base hits in 24 at-bats. The 38-year-old is owed $9 million for the season.

The Angels made a major mistake when they let Abreu’s $9 million option for 2012 vest by giving him over 500 plate appearances last season. Now they’re paying for that management mistake, but at least they’re not waiting long to correct it. The team said they wouldn’t bring up Trout unless they had a spot for him. DiPoto says he’ll play.

Now that they’ve cut Abreu, you have to wonder how long it’s going to be before the Angels get rid of their other big mistake — Vernon Wells.

Post-Dispatch Says Albert Pujols ‘Turns His Back on St. Louis’ (Picture)

Albert Pujols has signed with the highest bidder.  Given what we know about today’s day and age, that should come as a shock to absolutely no one who pays even a little bit of attention to professional sports.  As Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown reported Thursday morning, the Los Angeles Angels swept in out of nowhere and offered Pujols a monstrous 10-year contract that is believed to be worth between $250-$260 million.  The last reported offer from St. Louis was in the range of $210-$220 million, so as you can see Pujols decided to take the extra $30-$40 million and run.

Most fans would probably take it too, but good luck getting them to admit that.  You certainly won’t hear anyone in St. Louis admitting it, as evidenced by the LeBron James treatment the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave Pujols on the front page of their website after the deal was announced.

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Mike Napoli, More Than Vernon Wells, May Have Cost Tony Reagins His Job

Tony Reagins is out as the general manager of the Angels after taking over the position in October, 2007. What’s sad, is that much like his predecessor, Bill Stoneman, Angels fans are celebrating the news of his demotion. Fans never want to celebrate the firing of a front office executive because that generally correlates to the team performing poorly. That was the case for the Angels, who missed the playoffs two straight years for the first time during Arte Moreno’s tenure as team owner.

The baseball world first questioned Reagins’ sanity when he traded for Vernon Wells, who had perhaps the worst contract in the entire league. Taking a chance on the former All-Star may have been a worthwhile pursuit if the team were getting a discount, but Reagins unfathomably took on Wells’ contract without asking for any compensation in return.

Not only were the Angels stuck with the remaining four years and $84 million left on Vernon’s deal, but they also GAVE AWAY players in return. When Tony Reagins is getting robbed, he doesn’t just give the burglars what they want, he shows them the safe and hands them the combination, too. The Angels inexplicably gave Toronto Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli, a decision that in my opinion, cost Reagins his job.

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