While the rumored long-term deal has yet to come to fruition, the Angels and Mike Trout agreed to a record-setting one-year deal, according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times. Trout will earn $1MM in 2014, marking the largest payday in Major League history for a pre-arbitration player. Trout's deal surpasses the $900K guarantee achieved by Ryan Howard in 2007 and Albert Pujols in 2003 (though as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets, Howard's deal was farther north of the then-lower league minimum salary).
The $1MM salary likely makes it easier to extend Trout; as MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reported earlier in the week, once Trout's 2014 salary is agreed to, the Angels can structure a long-term deal to begin in 2015 without fear of incurring luxury tax penalties in 2014. Talks with Trout are rumored to be surrounding a six-year, $150MM extension. That mark would be historic in its own right and would buy out three years of free agency, were it to begin in the 2015 season.
Earlier this morning, our own Zach Links examined how pre-arbitration salaries are determined, noting that several teams use rigid scales that afford only minimal raises to players with 0 to 3 years of Major League service time. As that post explains, performance is often factored into the salaries of pre-arb players, but a raise of this magnitude is virtually unheard of for a player who has yet to hit arbitration.
Angels GM Jerry Dipoto called the deal a "landmark," when speaking to reporters (including Shaikin). Fletcher tweets that Dipoto feels that Trout's performance merited breaking a rule on their 0-to-3 pay scale (referring to years of service time). Indeed, Trout has been arguably the best player in baseball over the past two seasons, slashing an otherworldly .324/.416/.560 with 57 homers, 82 steals, two All-Star bids, two Silver Slugger awards, a Rookie of the Year trophy and a pair of runner-up finishes in the American League MVP voting.
The contract is a notable step up from last year's $510K renewal, which was met with some harsh criticism from agent Craig Landis, fans and the media. This coming season marks Trout's final year before arbitration eligibility, and it's fair to assume that Trout could shatter records in arbitration as well, if the two sides are ultimately unable to agree on a long-term deal.