After Mike Trout bum-rushed the MLB set like a category 6 hurricane this epic season, you’d think the Los Angeles Angels would try to keep that boy fed and feeling the love as he preps to avoid a sophomore slump, a Sports Illustrated cover jinx and another missed postseason.
Instead of blessing the youngster, the Angels played small ball with the five-tool phenom and renewed his $482,500 contract for $510,000 (just $20,000 above the major league minimum).
Trout didn’t have much to spit about it because he sees a big wad of cash at the end of his 100yard dash. His agent Craig Landis, however, said they were vexed with the decision announced Saturday.
“In my opinion, this contract falls well short of a ‘fair’ contract,” Landis said in a statement. “And I have voiced this to the Angels throughout the process.”
The contract wasn’t much of a vote of confidence for Trout, a young, emotional player who delivered the poker equivalent of a royal flush last season.
LA, with a slew of fat-ass contracts and pressure to win now, is looking for every angle of monetary relief it can find. Trout is just a victim of that circumstance.
he has less than three years of service time, the Angels are free to pay him the shorts that they did.
Owner Arte Moreno has the GNP of a band of third-world countries tied up in pitcher C.J. Wilson and slugger Albert Pujols ($331.5 million). They snatched up Josh “The Natural” Hamilton for another $125 million before this season. Not to mention Vernon Wells, who isn’t even going to start, who is owed $42 million over the next two seasons.
Trout is really like the little brother at the dinner table and he’s also a victim of Mike Scioscia’s heightened sense of urgency to get this Hollywood squad onto the big screen. Rarely
is has a player who has displayed Trout’s defensive prowess in centerfield, been moved to left field.
Once again, the Angel
les don’t seem very concerned with Trout’s feelings or comfort entering his second season.
Then again the position switch could be proof of how much the team values his maturity, versatility and ability. If the Angels believe making way for speedy centerfielder Peter Bourjos—thought to have the best glove in the sport—will make them better, then Trout says he’s ’bout it.
“I’m a centerfielder, obviously,” Trout told USA Today. “But you know, when you’re an outfielder, you should be able to play all three.”
Failing to make the postseason, and the headline-grabbing reloaded Dodgers squad, has the entire Angels organization tight, and team brass wants to see what Trout will do for an encore before breaking him off.
This offseason has been a whirlwind for Trout, who’s as cool as Papa Bell on and off the field. People are calling him the next Mickey Mantle, but the Angels are treating him like Mickey Mouse. He didn’t beef. He already came up with a way to supplement his feeble salary by signing his first big endorsement deal in September with beverage brand BODYARMOR SuperDrink which is projected to hit $10 million in sales in its first year. Trout actually turned down potential endorsements this winter
, to focus on baseball and enjoy his youth.
As his legend continues to grow, the Angels increasingly use him as the dominant face of their marketing from commercials to bobble head dolls to fan give-aways.
On the low, Trout’s got to be scratching his dome, like when a runner gets picked off first base, but he knows money talks and BS walks. There’s a financial pecking order on the Angels, so Trout’s feelings get tended to after the hired guns are appeased. He’ll have to wait to get his cut of that new $3 billion dollar TV deal. Truthfully speaking, in this age of Internet-hyped celebrities and overnight icons, the Angels have every right to tackle sure things first.
All of the club’s high-priced vets had multiple dope seasons before breaking the bank. That’s how MLB works. You get underpaid until you can get overpaid.
Salary arbitration comes after the 2014 season and free agency following the 2017 season. Trout knows if he stays healthy, continues to play D like a Fred Lynn/Ken Griffey, Jr. hybrid, keeps a lethal bat—and those 15 pounds he gained doesn’t negatively affect his game—the high road is one that could eventually make Trout the big fish on any team with the first-ever $300 million dollar contract.