SATURDAY JUNE 24, 2017
 
Blog THROWIN SMOKE
NO CASHING IN FOR MIKE TROUT
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Let’s say you finished second in MVP voting last year to a guy who achieved baseball’s Triple Crown for the first time since Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967.

And you won the AL Rookie of the Year award after hitting .326 with 30 home runs and 49 steals, the greatest rookie season since Joe DiMaggio’s first year in 1936.

Time to cash in, right?

Not if you’re Mike Trout.

After weeks of discussions between the Los Angeles Angels and baseball’s newest superstar, the team put an end to negotiations Saturday by imposing a contract on Trout that will pay him $510,000 US this year.

That would be exactly $28,000 more than he made last year. And just $20,000 more than the league minimum.

Nice job, kid. Go get yourself a haircut.

To give you some perspective, Trout will earn about $20.5 million less than Miguel Cabrera, who finished just 80 points ahead of him in MVP voting last year. He’ll make $15.5 million less than Adrian Beltre, who finished a distant third in MVP voting.

And Trout’s salary is about 1/40th of what his backup, Vernon Wells will make. Last year, Wells played 77 games, batted .230 and had 11 home runs and 35 strikeouts. He’ll earn $21 million next year.

''This contract falls well short of a 'fair' contract and I have voiced this to the Angels throughout the process,” said Craig Landis, Trout’s agent. “Nonetheless, the renewal of Mike's contract will put an end (to) this discussion.''

Oh, and by the way, we’ll need you to switch positions, too.

In order to accommodate centre fielder Josh Hamilton, this winter’s prized free agent, whom the Angels signed to a five-year, $125 million deal, they’ll have to move Trout to left field in 2013.

'My main position is centre field, obviously,” Trout said. “It's definitely a different position than left field. But I just have to make an adjustment and go with the move.”

As much as players’ rights have advanced since a union was formed back in the 1970s, players with less than three years of Major League experience are still very much treated like cattle. When teams and players can’t come to terms on a contract, teams can simply renew contracts at the salary of their choice, as long as the salary is above the Major League minimum.

It happened to Buster Posey in 2010 when the San Francisco Giants re-upped their Rookie of the Year catcher to a $575,000 contract. And it happened in 2008, when the Milwaukee Brewers imposed a $670,000 contract on first baseman Prince Fielder.

“I’m not happy at all,” Fielder said at the time. “But my time is going to come. It’s going to come quick, too.”

When Fielder became a free agent in 2012, he wasted no time in bolting from Milwaukee for a $214 million contract from the Detroit Tigers.

As for Trout, he’s putting on a brave face.

''I just have to keep putting out numbers and concentrating on one thing, and that's getting to the postseason,” he said. “I mean, my time will come.”

For the penny-wise but pound-foolish Angels, it’s going to come quick, too.

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