Posted March 04, 2013

Mike Trout’s 2013 salary in perspective

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Mike Trout
Angels' OF Mike Trout

Mike Trout’s salary is $20,000 above the minimum for a player with his service time. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

By Jay Jaffe

Over the weekend, news broke that the Angels renewed the contract of Mike Trout at $510,000, a mere $20,000 above the major league minimum for a player with his service time. Even with the 21-year-old outfielder coming off an historic season in which he took home AL Rookie of the Year honors and finished second in the Most Valuable Player voting, the Angels were within their rights to make this move. Players with less than three years of service time simply don’t have any leverage in negotiations, with the exception of a small handful of “Super Two” player who become eligible for arbitration a bit earlier than their peers. That’s written into the Collective Bargaining agreement between the players’ union and the owners, and it’s been that way for a long time.

The unilateral move ruffled the feathers of fans as well as Trout’s agent, Craig Landis. “In my opinion, this contract falls well short of a ‘fair’ contract, and I have voiced this to the Angels throughout the process,” Landis told reporters via e-mail. Trout took the high road, steering clear of complaining about salary. “My time will come,” he said.

By the standards of the average American, a salary north of half a million dollars a year is an exorbitant one, but it’s nothing special for a major league player. Below are a handful of calculations regarding how quickly some of Trout’s peers will earn his salary in 2013.

1.4 games: An estimate of the amount of time it would take for Trout to produce $510,000 worth of value in 2013, based on two assumptions: that Trout produces at the same level in terms of Baseball-Reference.com Wins Above Replacement across a 162-game season as he did last year after getting called up in late April in 2012 (12.2 WAR), and that each WAR is worth $4.67 million on the open market ($61,035,211 of value for the season). The first assumption is a shaky one due to the tendency of the most extreme performances to regress to the mean, but at a pace of 8.3 WAR over a full season, he’d still be worth his keep after a measly two games.

2.8 games: The amount of time it will take Alex Rodriguez to earn Trout’s salary in 2013, based on his $29 million annual salary for the year, which breaks down to $179,012.35 per game. Of course, Rodriguez is on the disabled list, so he won’t actually be playing any games until at least the second half of the season.

3.4 games: The amount of time it will take Angels’ teammate Vernon Wells to earn Trout’s salary in 2013, based on his $24,642,857 annual salary for the year, which breaks down to $152,116.40 per game. With Trout, Peter Bourjos and Josh Hamilton in place as the Angels’ starting outfield, Wells will probably make most of that money while riding the pine.

3.9 games: The amount of time it will take Miguel Cabrera to earn Trout’s salary in 2013, based on his $21 million annual salary for the year, which breaks down to $129,629.63 per game. Cabrera beat out Trout for the AL MVP award in 2012, though he was nowhere near as productive on a dollars-to-win basis. Using Baseball-Reference.com’s measure of 6.9 WAR, every Cabrera win above replacement cost the Tigers $3.04 million last year. That’s more than 67 times what it cost the Angels for every Trout win above replacement: $45,093, or $482,500 for 10.7 WAR.

5.2 games: The amount of time it will take teammate Albert Pujols to earn Trout’s salary in 2013, based on his $16 million annual salary for the year, which breaks down to $98,765.43 per game. Pujols signed a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Angels in December 2011, but he earned just $12 million last year. Pujols’ salary rises to $23 million in 2014, and increases by $1 million a year through 2021, when he’ll make $30 million.

25.7 games: The amount of time it would take the average major leaguer to earn Trout’s salary in 2013, based on the 2012 average salary of $3,213,479, or $19,836.29 per game. Of course, one can expect that average to rise slightly; last year’s average represented a 3.8 percent increase over the year before, and over the last five years, salaries have risen approximately 2.8 percent annually.

110.2 games: The amount of time it will take 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper to earn Trout’s 2013 salary, based on his $750,000 annual salary, part of a five-year, $9.9 million deal he signed after the Nationals chose him with the first pick of the 2011 draft. As part of that deal, Harper will also receive a $1.25 million installment of his signing bonus on July 1 — an amount that doesn’t figure into that calculation. Trout, who was taken with the 25th pick of the 2009 draft, received a $1.215 million signing bonus, but he did not sign a major league contract at that time.

9.9 years: The amount of time it would take the average player in 1976, who earned $51,501, to make Trout’s 2013 salary without receiving a raise. When arbitrator Peter Seitz ruled in favor of the players in the landmark Messersmith-McNally case in December 1975, it opened the door to free agency for players with at least six full years of major league service after the 1976 season. Salaries rose 48 percent in 1977, and have continued to escalate ever since.

10+ years: The amount of time it would take outfielder Randall Grichuk, who was selected by the Angels with the pick immediately before Trout in the 2009 draft, to earn Trout’s salary this year while playing for the team’s Double-A affiliate. Grichuk’s actual salary isn’t publicly known, but Double-A players typically make between $5,000 and $12,000 a month depending on service time, according to an official in another organization who estimated that Grichuck would be making less than $10,000 a month at that level. Assuming he does make $10,000 a month over a five-month season, that’s still just $50,000 for the year, less than one-tenth of what Trout will make.

11 comments
LiberalsRCommies
LiberalsRCommies

Puig gets 40+ million before he ever plays a single game in the minors and Mike Trout gets half a mil. Does anyone out there see the ridiculous hypocrisy? Hispanic Angel owner Arte Moreno gave Mike Trout a lousy 20k above league minimum. Clearly his main objective is to turn the Angels into a Hispanic Team by giving  huge contracts to Pujols and others while disrespecting white players like Mike Trout and trading Mark Trumbo. WTH? 

Trumbo a proven 100/yr rbi and 30 home run hitter. SO Arte, who is going to bat behind Pujols now? 

Trumbo and Trout could have anchored that lineup.

Mike Scioscia , Get out while you can. Either that or lead a mutiny and force a new owner to take over. 

ingndave
ingndave

I live in the LA area. I used to go to Dodgers and Angels games regularly however I started going to Rancho Cucamonga Quakes games for the very reason above. Those players are hungry! They have something to lose. When you receive 70 million whatever over 4 years etc etc whats the incentive? You have the cars, the girls, the houses, the boats whatever. But when your making 1100 a month and eating at Subway you desire for more so you push more and each hit and out counts 100 times more than ever before!

Michael10
Michael10

You forgot a few. *** 10+ years: the amount of time it would take the average American family to earn Trout's income this season. *** 35+ years: the amount of time it would take a full-time minimum wage worker to earn Trout's income this season. *** 83.9 years: the amount of time it would take a stadium peanut vendor to earn Trout's income this season. *** 1275 years (1.275 millennia): the amount of time it would take an individual in the Democratic Republic of Congo to earn Trout's salary this season. *** 11.8 games: the amount of time it will take Jason Bay to earn Trout's salary this season from the Mets...to play ANYWHERE else. *** 68.9 games: the amount of time Bobby Bonilla will have to spend in front of the television watching the Mets to earn Trout's salary this season. *** 165.2 games: the amount of time Bobby Bonilla will have to spend in front of the television watching the Orioles to earn Trout's salary this season. *** 41.8 games: the amount of time Manny Ramirez will have to spend wondering when the Red Sox will retire his number to earn Trout's salary this season. *** I think Mike Trout will be OK...I'm sure his salary will be a burden to his team, too, before it's all said and done.

GaetanoTodaro
GaetanoTodaro

Poor guy i feel so sorry for him, want to trade salaries. I'll take your minimum salary any day.

timmottly1
timmottly1

Really? Do you want us to send him cash? He's 22 years old and he's making half a million a year....If he stays healthy - he will be making $25 million a year in about 5 or 6 years. Sorry - but the players you are comparing him to have been doing it for several years - Trout hasn't even played a full season yet... No sympathy here...and he doesn't need it.

FeliciaFitzgerald
FeliciaFitzgerald

What's the point of this article? To reinforce how poor all Americans who don't play professional sports are or to highlight how obscenely rich the sports players are (minimum wage in MLB is $490,000 per year!!!)

 

The average US household income is around $50,000 so Mr. Trout is making the equivalent of 10 years of income (working 40 hours per week per individual) for an entire American family.

 

And most people still are against unions?!? Time to wake up people. Join a union and vote ABR: Anyone But Republican.

BrianRoss
BrianRoss

Mike Trout is part of the MLBPA (i.e. the players union), and the union that represents him has negotiated with the owners and agreed to the system that makes this possible. Therefore, he really has nothing to complain about. The agent, who makes a percentage of his salary, is of course ticked.

JUSTINL
JUSTINL

Jay Jaffe's porno stache strikes again.

gswposse
gswposse

This is a dumb, dumb, dumb, article.  Seriously, the writers on SI have been going down hill. 

BuckyBacker
BuckyBacker

Some perspective to past ROY (not including signing bonuses):

2011 ROYs

Jeremy Hellickson made $489,000 the year after his ROY (2012 - minimum was $480,000)Craig Kimbrel made $590,0002010 ROYsNeftali Feliz made $457,160 (2011 minimum was $414,500)Buster Posey made $575,000.2009 ROYsAndrew Bailey made $435,000 (2010 minimum was $400,000)

Chris Coughlin made $475,000. 

RayIsBipolar
RayIsBipolar

 @BuckyBacker Posey made $615,00 while winning an MVP and his 2nd World Series title. Why is Trout's agent crying again? If his guy is really going to be great then the money will be off the charts when its his time to get paid. All he has to do is wait, just like every other player in the league. What makes me laugh is how Trout's agent is the guy leading the charge here but Trout gets credit for taking the high road by not echoing what his agent says? Come on folks, are you that naive to think this wasn't all planned by Trout and his agent. The agent says what Trout wants then Trout plays the good ole boy and says he just wants to play and win ball games, all while the message is sent to the media and Trout comes out looking like a hero. Lame.