Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout is one of the rising stars in the American League, if not one of the best young players in the game. Fresh off a season that saw the 21 year old Trout finish second in AL MVP voting to Detroit Tigers utility infielder Miguel Cabrera, and taking home the league’s Rookie of the Year award, Trout is dealing with some adversity that a more ego-centric and less team-focused player might complain about at a minimum and decry publicly at a maximum.
In a move which, in my opinion, could seriously hurt the team’s chances in arbitration down the road, the Angels have chosen to pay Trout only $510,000 for the 2013 season, and likely will replicate this salary — without any bonuses he is owed, obviously — in the 2014 season as well since Trout is not eligible for arbitration proceedings until the end of the 2014 season.
I understand the finances involved in the decision — especially given the huge contracts the Angels now have on the books with Josh Hamilton (5 years, $125 million) and Albert Pujols (10 years, $254 million) — but getting the most out of a player for the least investment, while a sound fiscal strategy, rarely pays off when decision time comes around.
As it stands, the $510,000 Trout will make in 2013 is only $20,000 more than the rookie minimum.
It’s obvious that this $510,000 salary paid to Trout is in no way a fair market value offer, and when the time comes for arbitration negotiations Trout and his agent Craig Landis would be well within their rights to put the screws to an Angels organization who will certainly have it coming.
Guess what Halos:
You can drip Mike Trout dry for now, but you’d better enjoy your huge return on investment.
You’ll be paying one way or another soon enough– either to keep him in uniform, or in having him blow up your pitching for a foe in 2015.