By Mitch Chortkoff
At the start of the 2014 baseball season most authorities believe the Angels' Mike Trout is the best player in either the American or National League.
Trout is only 22 and has spent just two years in the major leagues. But he has batted .314, hit with power and stolen 86 bases.
In addition he has played superbly in the outfield.
The Angels are so impressed they've begun talks that could bring Trout $150 million over six years.
The baseball authorities I've talked to think the Angels are doing the right thing.
The Angels don't want to take any chance of Trout going to another team so early in his career.
But they recognize that most players will want, at some point, to learn what their maximum value is. So a six-year contract makes sense because Trout will be only 28 when he'll have the ability to sign a new one wherever he chooses.
How is Trout handling the media craze that has accompanied his quick rise?
"He hasn't taken a backward step," said manager Mike Scioscia. "There's a potential for distraction but it hasn't happened."
The Angels haven't fared well in big money signings lately. Neither Albert Pujols nor Josh Hamilton have had terrific seasons.
With Trout becoming a third player with a huge contract the Angels will have high expectations this season.
But their pitching is sub par and they're in a highly competitive division. Oakland and Texas are formidable and Seattle has signed former Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano for $240 million over 10 years, the fourth largest contract in baseball history.
A logical move by the Angels would have been to spend heavily on a starting pitcher since the ones they added last season didn't work out.
So far that hasn't happened.