By Mike DiGiovanna
1:45 PM CST, March 2, 2013
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The agent for Mike Trout knew for days that the Angels would “renew” the contract of the star outfielder Mike Trout because they were far apart in negotiations for a 2013 salary.
But when Trout was assigned a salary of $510,000 on Saturday, a mere $20,000 above the major league minimum, after winning American League rookie of the year honors and finishing second in voting for most valuable player last season, Craig Landis was stunned.
“During the process, on behalf of Mike, I asked only that the Angels compensate Mike fairly for his historic 2012 season, given his service time,” Landis, who represents Trout, said in an email. “In my opinion, this contract falls well short of a ‘fair’ contract, and I have voiced this to the Angels throughout the process.”
Players with less than three years of major league service have virtually no leverage, and most will make close to the major league minimum, which rose from $480,000 in 2012 to $490,000 this season.
If a player and team can’t agree on a figure, the team can renew the player's salary at or above the minimum, an outcome that can ruffle the feathers of some players and their agents, hindering future negotiations between the sides.
Some organizations reward young players for superb seasons. Derek Jeter was renewed after winning rookie of the year in 1996, when the New York Yankees more than tripled his salary, from $130,000 to $550,000.
After Albert Pujols was selected National League rookie of the year and finished fourth in MVP voting, the St. Louis Cardinals bumped his salary from $200,000 in 2001 to $600,000 in 2002.
The Angels, under second-year General Manager Jerry Dipoto, are obviously taking a different tack, as evidenced by their renewal of Trout's contract. But that is their prerogative.
“The $510,000 salary was not the result of a negotiated compromise between Mike and the Angels,” Landis said. “Because Mike has less than three years of major league service and has not yet reached arbitration, the Angels have the right under the [collective bargaining agreement] to unilaterally impose a salary upon Mike, and they chose to do that today.”
Trout said on Thursday that he would not be fazed by getting renewed.
“You could easily put yourself in a bad mood about it, but that’s not me,” Trout said. “I like to play baseball. I’m going to try to win a World Series for the team and not worry about off-the-field things.”
Landis said Trout would not comment further on the renewal.
“The renewal of Mike's contract will put an end of this discussion,” Landis said. “As when he learned he would not be the team's primary center fielder for the upcoming season, Mike will put the disappointment behind him and focus on helping the Angels reach their goal of winning the 2013 World Series.”
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