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.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.

Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.

Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”

Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.

Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.