Feb 26 2014, 7:46pm CST | by Poch de la Rosa
"A long-term contract, perhaps something approaching $200 million in total value, could come soon.
"For now, Mike Trout will happily settle for being compensated in a way nobody in his service-time range has.
"The 22-year-old center fielder and the Angels had agreed to terms on a one-year, $1 million contract for 2014 earlier that morning, making Trout the richest pre-arbitration player, and more importantly, setting an encouraging tone for ongoing conversations about a long-term contract.
"The previous high for a pre-arbitration player who was going year to year with his club was $900,000, attained by (Philadelphia) Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard in 2007 and then-(St. Louis) Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols in 2003.
"For most players with less than three years of Major League service time -- Trout has a little more than two -- clubs are free to determine salaries as long as they're above the Major League minimum, which is set at $500,000 this year.
"Last spring, the Angels gave Trout only a $20,000 raise from the previous campaign, paying him $510,000 in 2013 and drawing the ire of his agent.
"This year, they nearly doubled it."
Trout told Gonzalez he feels good about his new contract.
"It makes you feel good inside. It makes you feel like they want you here, and that means a lot to me.
"That's cool. I just go out there, play the game, and if the money's where it's at, that's where it's going to be. It's always special when the Angels go out of their way. They could've easily given me ($550,000) or whatever this year, and they stepped up this year. It makes you feel good this year."
For his part, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto raved about Trout's on-field performance and his landmark deal, per Gonzalez.
"It's a landmark. It's fitting. I think Mike's earned that, and we're glad to provide that for him. He's certainly been an extraordinary player, and we have no doubt that he'll continue to be that player."
Now that a deal for 2014 is in place, The Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin stresses a long-term deal for Trout can materialize next season. His one-year contract for 2014 also avoids the scenario of a luxury-tax assessment this year.
Shaikin notes Trout and the Angels are working on a contract extension in the six-year, $150 million range. Los Angeles would be able to buy out his first three years of free agency. With that kind of an extension, Trout is set to become a free agent at 29.
The Los Angeles Times report also states a failure to draw up a long-term contract would mean Trout is up for salary arbitration in 2015.
According to ESPN, Trout is "not interested in discussing contract negotiations with the media." Angels manager Mike Scioscia says he is confident his star outfielder won't be distracted by contract talks during the season.
Trout hit .323 for 27 home runs and 97 RBIs in the 2013 MLB season.
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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