Mike Trout’s contract was renewed by the Angels for $510,000, just $20,000 over the Major League minimum. As noted in this morning’s Roundup, Trout’s agent was not happy with the low salary, thinking the Angels might compensate him a little more for his historic season as the AL MVP runner up. As Jerry Crasnick noted, other teams have bumped up young high performers a little bit more than the rules required (Jeter with the Yankees, Pujols with the Cardinals) to maintain good will.
Trout himself is keeping a good perspective.
“I mean, my time will come,” Trout said before a team meeting. “I just have to keep putting out numbers and concentrating on one thing, and that’s getting to the postseason.”
A look at the MLB salaries available on Baseball Prospectus shows plenty of washed-up veterans making $10+ million per year and stars who reach free agency now commanding more than $20 million per year. The future is not guaranteed, but for a hitter like Trout, he will likely still be around to cash in down the road, even if the relationship with the money-rich Angels could be strained by then.
Here’s a look at some of the players around the league who could stand to give a loan to Mike Trout until that day comes, while they are also busy not earning their current large contracts.
1. Vernon Wells, $24.6 million. If Trout wants to look at what he needs to do to get paid, he can look no further than teammate Vernon Wells, and then maybe ask that the Angels worst outfielder help him out with that new car. Wells is only making about 48x more than Trout in 2013.
2. Alex Rodriguez $29.0 million. He may not play much this year, but at least he has a kind heart and is someone to root for.
3. Jason Bay, approximately $21 million. How bad was Bay’s contract when the Mets agreed to a buyout this offseason so he would not play for them anymore? Well, the Mets still paying Bobby Bonilla not to play for the last decade seems reasonable in comparison.
4. Carl Crawford, $20.857 million. Red Sox fans are happy he is gone. It took moving Adrian Gonzalez along with it to get the Dodgers to take on this lovely contract.
5. Ryan Howard $20 million. Jared from Subway is in better shape and has slightly more upside over the next few years.
6. John Lackey $15.95 million. Couldn’t go to a better guy.
7. Alfonso Soriano $19 million. Yeah, Soriano had a bounce-back year of sorts in 2012 when he hit 32 home runs. He will still be 37 years old this year, and had a WAR of -1.5 the previous three seasons. While Trout contributes all around, Soriano isn’t doing much to earn that money unless he’s banging home runs.
8. Adam Dunn $15 million. Speaking of the opposite of a five tool player, Adam Dunn was for years a sabermetric favorite because of his ability to walk and hit for power. The problem now is that he no longer hits for any type of average to go with those walks (.184 batting average the last two years in Chicago).
9. Jeff Francouer $6.75 million. Yeah, he doesn’t make as much as anyone else on this list, but he doesn’t earn every penny with the worst of them. His Wins Above Replacement was -2.7 last year, thanks to getting on base less than 30% of the time and slugging less than .400 at a power position in right field. At least he was so irreplaceable that the Royals felt they could move their top prospect who played the same position.
10. Barry Zito $20 million. Zito pitches in an extreme pitchers park, but with park adjustments hasn’t been better than the league average in ERA since 2009, and that was the only time since he moved across the Bay in the last six years. He will be 35, and the Giants better hope this season is closer to last year than 2011.