Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams are free to assign whatever salaries they want to players in their pre-arbitration seasons -- between zero and three years of service time -- provided that it's no less than the 2013 minimum of $490,000.
To determine those salaries, the Angels use an objective system that gives a lot of weight to service time, not performance. Trout's situation is rare -- as a 21-year-old coming off being the unanimous choice for American League Rookie of the Year and the runner-up for MVP -- but the Angels still went by the book.
"Craig and Mike have a right to their opinion and we don't begrudge them their feelings," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "We love Mike. Mike's a big part of what we're doing here, obviously, now and hopefully for many years to come."
Of the 22 zero-to-three players who obtained contracts from the Angels Saturday, Trout was the only one who was "renewed," while the other 21 "agreed" to their salaries. The highest salary for those 22 was $540,000 for Mark Trumbo, who has just over two years of service time.
Within the Angels' system, $510,000 was the most a player with Trout's service time -- 1.070 years -- could make.
"We're trying to manage a group of 25 players, not one," Dipoto said, adding: "We have been as aggressive with Mike as we can be."
The Angels' decision to not make an exception for Trout is mainly due to the domino effect it can have on the rest of their other pre-arbitration players, now and in the future. They don't believe this -- or moving him from center field, for that matter -- will hinder their ability to sign him to a long-term contract.
"I don't think so," Dipoto said. "Mike's a great kid, he's wired the right way. We have every faith in his desire to be a great player. He's going to go out there and he's going to bust his tail."
Teams take different approaches with regards to how they compensate players before they're arbitration eligible, and some weigh performance and awards more heavily into the figure. In fact, the last 10 Rookie of the Year Award winners have received an average raise of more than 21 percent over the minimum.
Under the Angels' system, Trout's raise was four percent over the minimum.
"We're seeing a minimum salary that has gotten bigger and bigger, and we are seeing an average salary at the Major League level that has gotten bigger and bigger, and we're charged with managing that across the board," said Dipoto, whose payroll will be about $160 million in 2013. "With the zero-to-three and arbitration years and free agent years, at some point you have to manage the talent on the field and the economics of the game. That's what we're trying to do every day."
Landis had previously voiced his displeasure to the front office about Trout no longer being the everyday center fielder, now that Peter Bourjos will move into that role, but Trout himself has not expressed any resentment about the move, publicly or to Angels executives.
Trout wasn't scheduled to play against the Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park on Saturday, and Landis said he would not comment further on the matter.
"As when he learned he would not be the team's primary center fielder for the upcoming season," Landis wrote, "Mike will put the disappointment behind him and focus on helping the Angels reach their goal of winning the 2013 World Series."