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The Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday signed star outfielder Mike Trout to a one-year contract worth $1 million, a prelude to a much bigger deal in the future.
It's the largest pre-arbitration contract for a player, surpassing a record shared by Ryan Howard, who got $900,000 from the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007, and Albert Pujols, who got the same amount from the St. Louis Cardinals in '03.
"It's a landmark to do a $1 million with a two-plus player,'' Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "I think it's fitting and Mike's earned that and we're glad to provide that for him.''
Trout also was pleased about the deal, saying, "It feels good."Negotiations continue between the Angels and Trout, 22, on a multiyear contract. Yahoo! Sports has reported the sides were discussing a six-year contract worth about $150 million.
"I just go out there to play the game,'' he said. "If the money is where it's at, that's where it's going to be.''
The Angels renewed Trout's contract last year for $510,000 -- just $20,000 above the major league minimum at the time.
Trout is one of only four players to bat .320 with 50 homers and 200 runs scored in his first two full seasons. The others: Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and Pujols, now a teammate of Trout's with the Angels.
|Two-time All-Star outfielder Mike Trout and the Angels continue negotiations on a multiyear deal.|
When Howard tied the previous record for a pre-arbitration player, he already had won National League Rookie of the Year and MVP awards and was coming off a 2006 season in which he led the majors with 58 home runs, 149 RBIs and 383 total bases. Pujols was coming off a 2002 season in which he batted .314 with 34 homers and 127 RBIs and was second in NL MVP voting.
Trout, who finished second in American League MVP voting in each of his first two full seasons, said last week he's not interested in discussing contract negotiations with the media. Manager Mike Scioscia said this week he's not worried about contract talks becoming a distraction for Trout.
Called up a month into the 2012 season, Trout won the AL Rookie of the Year Award after hitting .326 with 30 homers and 83 RBIs. He followed that with 27 homers, 97 RBIs and a .323 batting average in 2013.
"We thought his performance was exceptional,'' Dipoto said. "There are players that force you to break rules. What he did for two consecutive years forced us to break our own rule. His performance certainly merited us to do differently than any of the others.''
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick and The Associated Press contributed to this report.