It's one thing to have the best baseball player on the planet. It's another thing when you are saddled with one of the worst contracts in baseball.
That's the situation facing the Los Angeles Angels entering 2014, with Mike Trout poised to take another run at an MVP award and Albert Pujols just trying to prove his career isn't over.
With regards to the latter situation, the Angels got good news Thursday on the first day of camp. Pujols told reporters, including MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez, that he feels great after a productive winter:
It was a great offseason. Like I told you guys at the end of the season last year, everything happens for a reason. It [stunk] sitting on the bench for almost 2 1/2 months last year, as competitive an athlete as I am. But at the same time, it happened for the best, because I was able to not have the surgery on my heel and miss maybe some of my offseason training.
Even though he wasn't the same hitter in 2012, his first season in Los Angeles, that he was during his time in St. Louis, Pujols still hit 30 homers and slugged .516. The Angels would gladly take that again, especially to help offset the loss of Mark Trumbo.
As for Trout, the stories this spring are much different than they were last year, when there was some controversy about him showing up to camp weighing 241 pounds. Based on his play last year, I don't think the weight was an issue.
This year, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the talk around Trout could be about the Angels looking to open long-term contract negotiations with the superstar.
There's a good chance the Angels will renew Trout's contract again in March, but it won't have the sting of last spring's renewal because it will be done amid negotiations for a multiple-year extension that is expected to make Trout one of baseball's highest-paid players.
Based on his age (22), incredible level of performance and positional value as a center fielder, Trout has every right to ask for and receive a deal bigger than Alex Rodriguez's $275 million pact from the Yankees in 2007 and Clayton Kershaw's $30.7 million annual salary from the Dodgers.
Whatever ends up happening with Trout, the Angels know he's not going anywhere until at least 2018.
Who knows, if Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Tyler Skaggs, who was acquired in the Trumbo deal, take charge of the rotation, Pujols and Josh Hamilton combine for 60-70 homers and Trout does what he has the last two years, the Angels could compete with Texas and Oakland in the AL West.
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