The Los Angeles Angels did not give much of a financial reward—or provide any long-term job security—to 2012 American League Rookie of the Year Mike Trout. The All-Star center fielder had a season that would seem to warrant an eight-figure annual salary for years to come, but the Angels renewed his contract Friday for $510,000—just $20,000 over the MLB minimum.
A report by ESPN Los Angeles indicated that Trout was disappointed with the outcome, and also documented the response that his agent Craig Landis had in the aftermath.
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.
Trout did indeed have an epic campaign in his first full season as a starter. The 21-year-old prodigy sported a batting average of .326, with 30 home runs and 83 RBI. In addition, he led all of baseball with 129 runs and 49 stolen bases, while only being caught five times.
What should Mike Trout's strategy be after such an underwhelming contract renewal?
Those types of numbers garnered him heavy consideration for the AL Most Valuable Player award, where he finished second in voting to Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera. Though he came up short in the MVP race, Trout did win the Silver Slugger Award to go along with his other accolades.
Trout's defensive abilities are also among the best in the game. His speed allows him to be an extremely rangy outfielder, and it even gave him a Fielding Bible Award as MLB's best fielder at his position (via ACTA Sports).
He may have gotten a $10,000 bonus for his Rookie of the Year nod, but Trout deserved a lot more than what the Angels gave him for the foreseeable future.
In the same report, ESPN Los Angeles noted that Trout will be eligible for arbitration in the 2014 offseason, as well as free agency following the 2017 World Series. It will be interesting to see if the Angels' penny-pinching weighs into future negotiations when Trout and Landis are in a greater position of power.