The Los Angeles Angels front office has made a big mistake in their handling of young phenom Mike Trout already.
The club renewed the dynamic outfielder's contract for a mere $510,000 (h/t Yahoo! Sports). That's just $20,000 over the league's minimum salary.
At this point, the Angels front office must be patting themselves on the back. Trout was last season's breakout star. He took home Rookie of the Year honors while competing for the MVP award with his 30 home runs, 49 stolen bases and .326 batting average.
By wrapping up Trout at the incredibly discounted rate, they're saving a boatload of money that would be owed to him if they were to pay him anywhere near what he's worth. In the short term, it's a great deal for the club.
However, it doesn't come without consequences.
Trout's agent, Craig Landis, has already expressed his disappointment in the deal (h/t Associated Press):
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... In my opinion, this contract falls well short of a 'fair' contract and I have voiced this to the Angels throughout the process. Nonetheless, the renewal of Mike's contract will put an end (to) this discussion.
Unfortunately, Trout's agent is exactly right. The Angels needed to reward him based upon his performance last season while taking into account his relatively short body of work.
Considering that it was just his rookie season, a little bit of trepidation to shell out a huge deal for the outfielder would be understandable, but a $510,000 deal is simply egregious.
As Landis went on to say, this isn't the first decision that the organization has made lately that Trout didn't agree with. Their decision to move Trout from center field was not taken well.
Mike, himself, does not wish to comment on this matter... 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.
The fact that Trout is willing to put this issue behind him and focus on producing on the field speaks to his character. When he hits free agency in 2017, his handling of this situation will only drive his value up.
Considering the Angels' handling of his situation, it's hard to imagine he won't be all ears when other clubs come calling.
The Angels struck gold with Trout last season. It's not often that a 21-year-old comes on the scene and immediately becomes one of the best offensive players in the game.
Keeping Trout happy in the long term should have been priority No. 1. However, the Angels have sent a clear message that they will do whatever is best for them without regard to Trout by re-upping his deal so close to the league minimum.
That's a move that could guarantee Trout will be spending much of his prime elsewhere as soon as he's allowed to bolt in free agency.