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Rounding Third: Angels will get off easy with Trout deal

<p>It may not happen Wednesday. It may not happen a week from now. But in the not-so-distant future, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are going to be paying Mike Trout an awful lot of money.</p>

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - It may not happen Wednesday. It may not happen a week from now. But in the not-so-distant future, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are going to be paying Mike Trout an awful lot of money.

The Angels may have signed their superstar to a $1 million deal on Wednesday, but Trout is going to be getting a whole heck of a lot more than that in the coming weeks.

By setting Trout's 2014 salary now, the Angels can start the long-term deal that has been reported over the past couple of days in 2015, thus avoiding them going over the $189 million luxury-tax threshold this season.

An extension will likely be announced before the start of the season. It's as much of a bargain for the Angels as the $1 million they will be paying him this season.

Now it's hard to say a team that is reportedly going to have to shell out close to $150 million over the next six years to a player who's been in the league for only one full season got off easy, but if you are Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, you have to feel pretty good about the potential Trout extension.

Even if they are going to be paying him $38 million in the final year of the pact.

The reported six-year deal would buy out three years of free agency but still give Trout the ability to test the market at 29, at which time he may become the game's first $50 million-a-year player.

Imagine that, $50 million a year to play baseball? Remember all those people who got bent out of shape over Kirby Puckett's $3 million-per-year deal back in 1989?

According to Yahoo! Sports, the deal would break down like this: Trout would be paid $2 million this season with a $10 million signing bonus, then make $13 million, $14 million, $30 million, $35 million and $38 million, respectively, over the next five seasons.

Yes, the Angels could have nickel-and-dimed their 22-year-old superstar the next few years, like some teams do. It may sound crazy that a player like Trout would only be making $1 million, but it's part of the process. Every player goes through it.

I mean, Trout's not even arbitration eligible until 2015 and can't officially test the free agent waters until 2017.

So why would the Angels go out their way now to pay him?

Well, it's simple. He's really, really good.

MLB has a nice little campaign going on right now about who is the face of baseball. Well, he may not win, but I have news for you, Mike Trout is the face of baseball.

He's been the face of baseball the moment he stepped on the field in late April 2012. Had his team been a little better, Trout may have already had two AL MVP trophies on his mantle.

In 336 big league games, Trout has hit .314 with 62 home runs, 196 RBI, 86 stolen bases and a .948 OPS. He led the AL in WAR both seasons and has won back-to-back Silver Slugger Awards.

And he is every bit as good defensively as he is with a bat in his hands.

Why even bother taking a chance at making him angry? The early years of arbitration may be part of the process, but all it does is create bad feelings for those involved.

Now the Angels lock him up, and will have him at a bargain the next three or four seasons before the reported pact really skyrockets. When it's all said and done, the deal is probably going to have an annual average salary of $25 million.

Yet, as crazy as it sounds, it still makes perfect sense for everyone involved.

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