Mike Trout is a man amongst boys – - even if he is a boy himself. Because of the minor/meaningless raise the Los Angeles Angels gave the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year this week, there has been a lot of hubbub about how baseball players are being paid. It’s almost as if the media and fans were oblivious to the salary structure that MLB has been using for years. While I am one of the biggest Mike Trout fans on the planet, I cannot defend the notion that he deserves a multi-million dollar raise for a few reasons.
Unlike other sports, baseball has the best, most fair way of paying their players. This sport isn’t like the NFL (well, like the old NFL) where the highest paid players are ones who just enter the league. This is a league that rewards players for quality performances. Trout – along with others like Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg - will eventually “get theirs” during the free agent period. Here’s a scary thought to ponder: Harper and Trout will likely be free agents around 27 years old. If those guys continue to play like they did last season, they will be offered a 10-year, $300 million deal in free agency, which is exactly why there is no reason for people to complain that Mike Trout is getting the shaft.
I can agree that Trout is getting underpaid for his production, but that’s just the way it is. If the Angels gave Trout a raise, he would probably be making $20+ million in arbitration, which is why it would be crazy for the Angels to pay him now.
So, can we all get over the whole Mike Trout is getting ripped off spiel? Just like all the players who entered the league before Trout, he will be just fine once his arbitration clock starts to tick.