The Seattle Mariners’ bats finally were silenced Tuesday, but only because the schedule provided a day off for, um, what to call this juggernaut team that’s tearing up the Cactus League? The Peoria Power Co.? The New Bashers of the Purple Sage? Wedgie’s Wallbangers?
Aside from an offense that’s connected for 24 homers in 11 games, the best news of the Mariners’ camp has been how smooth things seem to be going. No worrisome injuries. No agents grousing on behalf of their clients. No rumblings of front-office discord.
The Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim — the American League West’s big spenders and, by extension, presumptive challengers to wrest the division crown from the Oakland A’s — haven’t been so fortunate.
Take the Angels, who lured free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton from Texas over the winter with a five-year contract worth $125 million. Because the team’s third-place finish in 2012 could be blamed on a pitching staff that mostly underwhelmed, the deal for Hamilton appeared to be more a public relations coup than a move to address a glaring need.
“Look at us,” was owner Arte Moreno’s message to the rest of Major League Baseball. “A year after we picked up Albert Pujols, we’re still swimming in money!”
Except whatever PR points were scored with the acquisition of Hamilton were surrendered the other day when the Angels pitched a low-ball contract to Mike Trout. The outfielder, fresh off a rookie-of-the-year season
that vaulted him into a Most Valuable Player candidate — he finished second to Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera, baseball’s first Triple Crown winner since 1967 — received the equivalent of a gift-certificate bonus for his sensational work.
The Angels didn’t have to pay Trout more than MLB’s minimum salary of $490,000. They decided to pay him $20,000 more, and if Trout, who can’t file for free agency until the end of the 2017 season, wasn’t thrilled with the raise, well, he can always occupy himself in another line of work for the next five years.
Hot Mariners having better spring than Angels, Rangers
Tacoma News Tribune | Mar 6