Tempe, AZ, United States (4E Sports) – The Los Angeles Angels have signed center fielder Mike Trout to an unprecedented one-year, $1 million deal that will pave the way for a long-term deal.
The $1 million compensation is a record for players with more than two years and less than three years of Major League service time. The previous high was $900,000, attained by Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard in 2007 and then-Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols in 2003.
“It’s a landmark,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “It’s fitting. I think Mike’s earned that, and we’re glad to provide that for him. He’s certainly been an extraordinary player, and we have no doubt that he’ll continue to be that player.”
For most players with less than three years of Major League service time — Trout has a little more than two — clubs can determine their salaries, as long as it’s at least the 2014 minimum of $500,000.
The Angels don’t want the average annual value of a potential Trout extension to count toward their Competitive Balance Tax payroll until 2015, otherwise they would blow past the luxury-tax threshold. So they needed to get Trout compensated for 2014 first.
Agreeing to terms on his present-year salary is essentially a green light for the 22-year-old sensation to sign an extension.
According to reports, the Angels and Trout’s representatives were working on a six-year, $150 million contract.
Last spring, the Angels made headlines by giving Trout a $20,000 increase from his American League Rookie of the Year season in 2012, a contract totaling $510,000.
Dipoto said then that the Angels were simply sticking to their system, but Landis responded with a statement in which he said the compensation was “not the result of a negotiated compromise” and that it “falls well short of a ‘fair’ contract.”
Trout, who will turn 23 on Aug. 7, already is widely considered the best all-around player in the game. He finished second to Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera for the AL Most Valuable Player Award in each of the past two years and was the unanimous Rookie of the Year in 2012.
Over the past two years, he has ranked second in the Majors in batting average (.324), second in OPS (.976), 14th in homers (57), second in steals (82) and easily first in Wins Above Replacement, with a cumulative score of 20.4.