Halos confident Trout will stick with club for long haul
Dipoto doubts contract renewal will sour left fielder's desire to sign extension
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Mike Trout's agent, Craig Landis, surely isn't happy. On Saturday, after finding out the Angels would be paying his client $20,000 more than the minimum -- $510,000 -- after a season in which Trout won the American League Rookie of the Year Award and finished second in AL MVP balloting, Landis wrote in an email that the salary "falls well short of a 'fair' contract" and indicated that Trout was disappointed to no longer be the primary center fielder.
On Sunday morning, Trout took the high road when asked about the situation.
On his salary, the 21-year-old said: "My time will come. I'm concentrating on one thing, and that's getting to the postseason."
On the move to left field, with Peter Bourjos looking like the everyday center fielder, Trout said: "My main position is obviously center field, but when you're an outfielder, you should be able to play all three. I think it's going to help me, getting [different] reads off the bat. It's going to be a fun adjustment for me."
And all throughout, Trout added: "I'm just happy to be in the lineup."
Comments aside, it's fair to say Trout isn't altogether pleased with his salary and new position. To what level is impossible to determine, but Landis doesn't put out that statement if Trout is happy. That much can be surmised.
The question -- perhaps the only one that really matters down the road -- is whether this will hurt the Angels' chances of signing Trout to a long-term extension.
The Angels say they determined Trout's salary mainly based on his service time in the Majors, 1.070 years. They want to move Trout to left field, at least for the majority of the time, because they feel they're a better club with Trout and Bourjos in the outfield and because playing left will take less of a toll on Trout's body.
Most importantly, they don't believe any of this will ruffle enough feathers to sour Trout's desire to sign an extension.
"I don't think so," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "Mike's a great kid, he's wired the right way and we have every faith in his desire to be a great player. He's going to go out there and he's going to bust his tail."
History tends to side with them, too.
• Heading into the 2010 season, after making the All-Star team the previous year, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones' contract was "renewed" -- meaning he didn't "agree" to the figure -- for $465,000, a jump of $30,000 over the previous year. Two years later, he signed a six-year, $85.5 million extension with the Orioles.
• Derek Jeter was renewed in 1997 -- though he was later given a bigger bump for winning Rookie of the Year the previous season -- and in '98, then went to arbitration in '99. He's been a Yankee for 18 years and counting.
• Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard was renewed in '06 and '07 -- even though he got a record bump for a player with less than two years service time that season -- and went to arbitration in '08. Two years after that, he signed a five-year, $125 million deal.
• Mets star David Wright was renewed in '06, getting a raise of about $50,000 after finishing in the top 20 in National League MVP voting the previous season. Then he signed two extensions with the Mets -- six years and $55 million in '06, then eight years and $138 million this past offseason.
• Upon being drafted, the Angels' Jered Weaver -- represented by Scott Boras -- didn't sign until right up to the deadline. Then, in '07, he was renewed for $385,000 -- only $5,000 more than the minimum at that time. Four years later, he signed a five-year, $85 million contract that's now among the best bargains in baseball.
There are some cases on the other end, though. Heading into '08, Prince Fielder was renewed by the Brewers for $670,000, after hitting 50 homers the previous season, and said: "I'm not happy about it at all." Four years later, he departed via free agency, signing a $214 million deal with the Tigers.
And on the Angels, Jarrod Washburn voiced his displeasure several times about his compensation in the zero-to-three years, then signed with the Mariners when he was eligible for free agency.
How much those early salaries impacted the departures is almost impossible to determine, but it's clear to see they rarely have an impact by the time big money comes into play.
The Angels hope the same with Trout.
"Mike is a fantastic young player," Dipoto said. "There is a lot of baseball in front of him, there is a lot of opportunity in front of him, both on the field and off. I'm sure he's focused on attaining as much of that as he can."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.