Mike Trout, the 22-year-old centerfielder for the Los Angeles Angels, just agreed to a historic one-year million dollar contract with the LA club. Impressive? In the MLB, it’s the salary-cap free, tax accountant’s daydream? Why? Trout’s only in his second year in the majors.
Typically, when a player wants a raise before their sixth year free agency, they have to go into arbitration to figure out exactly how much money they’re owed. Since a ball club controls the player’s salary during the first three years, like a grace period, an arbitration is necessary for players in the last three years of a contract if the player and agent feel like they’re worth more money to the ball club. It can be an unpleasant process, and the Angels decided to circumvent that entirely with the good faith contract as the two sides continue to hammer out details on a longer agreement. The team’s general manager, Jerry DiPinto, explained the club’s decision to Reuters earlier this week. “I think we felt like his performance was exceptional. He’s certainly been an extraordinary player, and we have no doubt that he’ll continue to be that player.”
With Yahoo Sports reporting that Trout is angling for a six year, 150-million dollar contract from the Angels, and the two sides are only marginally at odds, with the offers differing merely “in the low eight-figures.” Again, tax accountant’s dream.
Trout’s pre-arbitration contract edges out Ryan Howard’s 2007 deal with the Philadelphia Phillies as the largest in league history, and if the reported six year contract goes through this spring he will be a free agent again at the age of 28. Assuming that he stays injury-free and continues to perform at a high level, Trout would almost certainly be in-line for another massive deal.
The Angels finished the 2013 season with a 78-84 record, their fourth consecutive season without a playoffs appearance. The seventh most valuable franchise in the MLB, with an estimated worth just over $1 billion dollars, the Angels will being the 2014 season with about $130 million dollar in payroll. Mike Trout, who has lead the league in Wins Above Replacement for the last two years, courtesy of baseball-reference, is only taking up $1 million of that — for now.