The Los Angeles Angels and outfielder Mike Trout have agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract for 2014. While it doesn’t seem like much in this day and age the agreement, reached Wednesday, is the largest ever for a Major Leaguer who hasn’t been in the league long enough for arbitration. Trout will be eligible for arbitration after the 2014 season.
Trout, who is in his second full season with the Angels, hit .323 with 27 home runs and 97 RBI last year. In addition, he an on-base percentage of .432 and stole 33 bases. He was rookie of the year in 2012, and has made the all-star team in each of the past two seasons, finishing second in the MVP balloting both times. The biggest one-year contracts before Trout’s signing were Ryan Howard of the Phillies in 2007 and Albert Pujols with the Cardinals in 2003. Both earned $900,000.
Trout’s salary this year is nearly a 100 percent raise from last season when he made $510,000, just $20,000 above the league minimum. His rookie-year salary was just over $482,000. By signing Trout to this year’s $1 million salary, the Angels avoid having a major long-term deal on their luxury tax rolls for 2014. It also gives the two sides a season to work on a long-term deal for the 22-year-old from Millville, New Jersey. Reports say that the Angels and Trout are talking about a deal starting in 2015 that would span 5 years for around $150 million.
The deal was announced today in Tempe, Arizona where the Angels are beginning their spring training sessions. The $1 million salary was well above the minimum the club was required to pay a third-year player, but Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto says Trout has earned it. “I think it’s fitting,” Dipoto said, adding that Trout is one of those players that make you break the rules.
Sewing Trout up for a million dollars for the year is just what the Angels needed. For the 2014 season, the club already has 4 players making over $10 million per year. Josh Hamilton tops the list at $17.4 million, with first-baseman Albert Pujols and pitchers Jared Weaver and C.J. Wilson rounding out the list. Second-baseman Howie Kendrick is close, with a salary of $910,000 for this season. At $1 million, Trout is only the 12th highest paid player on the Halos’ roster this year.
As a team, the Angels have the seventh highest payroll in Major League Baseball this year at just less than $128 million dollars. Contrary to popular belief, the MLB payroll leader is not the New York Yankees this year. The other team in Los Angeles, the Dodgers, is at the top of the league with over $220 million in salaries followed by the Yankees’ at $203 million.
With Mike Trout signing for $1 million this year, and a long-term deal imminent, it leaves many in the baseball world wondering how high the Angels’ ceiling is. Either that or they will speculate about which of their $10 million-plus players won’t be on the roster next year.
By Chuck Podhaisky