03/06/2013 - Philadelphia, PA (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - Here we go again.
Major League teams have renewed their first- and second-year players and, of course, someone is not too happy.
This time, it's Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout, the 21- year-old wunderkind, who took the baseball world by storm last year with one of the best American League Rookie of the Year performances of all-time and was also the runner-up in MVP balloting.
Trout hit .326 with 30 home runs, 49 steals, 129 runs, a .564 slugging average, .399 on-base percentage and .963 OPS. Plus, he probably should have won a Gold Glove, too.
So, how was he rewarded? Well, the Angels signed him to a $510,000 deal, or just more than $20,000 over the league minimum. More precisely, a 6.25 percent raise from his $480,000 rookie salary.
Here's the deal: If you are a player with less than three years of service time, you pretty much have to take whatever the team offers. There is no recourse until you are eligible for salary arbitration. Sometimes, the team offers up a little bit more, but most of the time the player is renewed at the league minimum, or a little bit more, based on a games-played scale. That is just the way it is.
"In my opinion, this contract falls well short of a 'fair' contract, and I have voiced this to the Angels throughout the process," Trout's agent, Craig Landis, told the Los Angeles Times in an email.
Unfortunately, Trout has to deal with it. It may not be right, but it's been this way for years.
"My time will come," Trout said. "I'm concentrating on one thing, and that's getting to the postseason."
Would it have killed the Angels to maybe pony up a little more for Trout? Of course not, but the players will be the ones eventually holding all the chips, and believe me, they will take full advantage of it
The Miami Marlins renewed their young superstar Giancarlo Stanton at just $537,000. But, in case you haven't noticed, the Marlins have shed some salary this offseason and are likely to have a payroll near $30 million, or just over $330 million less than the Angels paid out to Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols the past two winters.
The Trout thing really makes me scratch my head. Here he is the new face of baseball and maybe the best all-around player in the game, and you want to ruffle his feathers?
And let's not forget the Angels also have told him that he will not be playing center field this season, either.
Will there be lingering bad feelings? Who knows. The New York Yankees are the richest team in the league and they have employed the same practice for years. Although, they bumped Derek Jeter a nice amount after he won the AL ROY in 1996 and he had nowhere near the type of season that Trout had.
Chances are this really is a non-issue. Trout doesn't strike me as the type of kid who is going to carry a grudge for as long as it's going to be once he's able to leave. Now, does this mean he may play a little hardball with the Angels when extension talks commence? Absolutely. But, let's be honest that was going to be the case anyway.
And if Trout continues to do what he does, the Angels will be more than happy to pay. It may be a little more than they have hoped, but that's the price they pay for doing this now.
So, the next time a player holds out for an extra year in fee agency, remember the way they were treated their first couple of years in the league.
Bottom line: It is a business, from both standpoints.
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Now, it's okay to call the league hypocritical when it releases injury reports, which players have told me only helps bettors. And it's okay to mutter something obscene when the league pretends gambling doesn't help drive TV ratings and fan interest and put money in owners' pockets. But when it supports other forms of gaming? Big Deal. The Bears should put an orange "C" on every deck of cards dealt at Harrah's in Joliet; the Eagles should slap their logo on roulette wheels at the Borgata in Atlantic City; the Dolphins should hold training camp at the El San Juan in Puerto Rico.
The NFL's problem, when it comes to the gambling world, isn't hypocrisy, it's worse: The bosses lack vision. That's why the league is picking unwinnable fights in Delaware and taking pot shots from critics after making smart sponsorship deals. Roger Goodell and his gang are acting and thinking locally rather than globally, which is rare for them, especially compared to their professional (and amateur) counterparts.
The NBA held its All Star game in Las Vegas and David Stern's kingdom didn't crumble (although the town did bring plenty of players to their knees.) I'd say it's 6 to 5 and pick 'em that Lebron will make a road swing through Sin City before his career is over.
Even the NCAA College Football Betting is more progressive on this issue than the NFL. Several years ago Rachel Newman Baker, college sports' gambling czar, opened a dialogue with Vegas bookmakers to learn about how they do business. She's visited Nevada sports books, studied their operations and listened to how they regulate action. Now she knows she can expect a call from bookmakers, who lose money when sports are fixed, if they think something sketchy is going on in NCAA games. She's not in favor of sports betting, but, as she once told me, "I know it's not going away, either."
The NFL can't seem to accept that. And until it can find peace with the idea, it'll get flack, even when it's right.
NFL betting action is back! At MySportsbook, all of the pro football odds are posted for the NFC North. Check out how we see the four teams in this cloudy division stacking up this year in the chase for the playoffs! Green Bay Packers (+125) - With QB Aaron Rodgers leading the offense and DC Dom Capers working his magic on defense, the Packers are a real force to be reckoned with.
Virtually nothing changed on this offense for Green Bay from last year to this year, save for the addition of rookie OT Brian Bulaga to the bunch. Expect more huge numbers from the Pack, and a relatively favorable schedule should get them over the hump and into the playoffs once again this season. My NFL Betting Predictions: 11-5, 1st place in NFC North Minnesota Vikings (+130) - There are still too many unknowns about the Vikes this year. There is a huge difference between QB Brett Favre and either Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels under center. Plus, is Favre comes back, is he really going to be able to keep his pick total under double digits again? Depth at running back looked like it might have been an issue with RB Chester Taylor fleeing in free agency, but drafting RB Toby Gerhart should pick up the difference. This defense is still suitable, but with a first place schedule, making the playoffs is going to be very tough regardless of whether #4 comes back or not.
There is a huge difference between QB Brett Favre and either Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels under center. Plus, is Favre comes back, is he really going to be able to keep his pick total under double digits again? Depth at running back looked like it might have been an issue with RB Chester Taylor fleeing in free agency, but drafting RB Toby Gerhart should pick up the difference. This defense is still suitable, but with a first place schedule, making the playoffs is going to be very tough regardless of whether #4 comes back or not. Play this weekly NFL Football Contestto see if you can win.
Chicago Bears (+350) - The Bears are probably a bit of an overhyped team once again this year.No, we don't think it is plausible for QB Jay Cutler to have as bad of a season as he did last year, and we do think the additions of RB Chester Taylor and DE Julius Peppers are going to help immensely, but there's still something in the water in the Windy City that we aren't so sure about. Maybe Chicago finds its way to .500... but then again, maybe it doesn't. If Favre comes back, Cutler might be the worst quarterback in this division this year.
Detroit Lions (+1500) - The Lions are probably once again going to be the whipping boys for the rest of the teams in the NFC North, but they aren't just going to roll over and die once again. There is some real talent amassing on this team offensively, as the combination of QB Matt Stafford, RB Jahvid Best, WR Calvin Johnson, and TE Brandon Pettigrew should put a bunch of points on the board if the offensive line can even remotely hold up. The questions really lie on defense, where it feels like DT Ndamukong Suh is going to be trying to stop opposing teams all by himself. This year should show some marked improvement in the Motor City.
The Patriots will make NFL betting fans a lot of money this season, get in early and enjoy the cash.