TEMPE, Ariz. -- Mike Trout has yet to play a game this season but already has broken a record.
The Angels signed Trout to a one-year, $1-million contract on Wednesday, the highest salary ever for a one-year deal with a player not yet eligible for salary arbitration. The previous record of $900,000 was shared by Albert Pujols (2003) and Ryan Howard (2007).
Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto called the deal a "landmark."
"I think it's fitting," Dipoto said. "I think Mike has earned it. We're glad to provide it. He's an extraordinary player."
The Angels are hopeful that the deal is a precursor to a long-term contract, one that would start in 2015 but could be announced this spring. The Angels could have unilaterally renewed Trout's contract this year -- as they did last year, when they paid him $510,000 -- but that would have made no sense as they negotiate a long-term deal reportedly in the range of six years and $150 million.
Dipoto declined to discuss the status of those discussions. He said that the Angels agreed to raise Trout above their salary scale for pre-arbitration players strictly on performance.
"There are players that force you to break a rule," Dipoto said. "What Mike did for two consecutive years forced us to break a rule."
Trout delivered historic performances in each of the last two seasons. In 2012, he became the first player in major league history to hit 30 home runs, steal 45 bases and score 125 runs in a single season. He also became the first player to bat .320 with 30 home runs and 45 stolen bases.
Craig Landis, Trout's agent, declined to comment on Wednesday's agreement.
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