Angels sign Mike Trout for $1 million, keep working on long-term extension

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While reports swirl about their long-term contract talks the Angels have given Mike Trout a $1 million salary for 2014, which is almost double what they were required to pay him based on his service time.

That makes sense, from a performance standpoint and from a keeping Trout happy standpoint, and it also hints at an extension being close to finished because by finalizing his 2014 salary the Angels clear the way for the average annual value of any long-term deal to begin counting in 2015 for luxury tax purposes.

Or, put another way: By signing him for $1 million this season and then announcing a long-term extension after that the Angels can avoid pushing their current payroll into luxury tax territory.

UPDATE: $1 million is the highest salary ever for a pre-arbitration player on a contract renewal, topping $900,000 for Ryan Howard a while back.

Braves sign David Hernandez

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Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.

Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.

Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.

Dave Roberts: It “doesn’t make sense” for Scott Kazmir to start year in Dodgers’ rotation

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Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.

Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.

Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.