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Trout contract talks could heat up around Opening Day

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Come Opening Day, the stage could be set for a mega-extension with Mike Trout.

A source said the Angels have yet to engage in serious discussions with Trout's agent, Craig Landis, who was publicly upset when the team paid his client only a little more than the Major League minimum this past season.

Part of the reason is there's really no comparison for Trout's price ceiling after the outfielder posted double-digit Wins Above Replacement scores in his ages 21 and 22 seasons.

But the biggest reason for the time frame is that a Trout extension would greatly increase the Angels' Collective Balance Tax Payroll -- the average annual value of all 40-man-roster contracts, plus benefits -- and they're already only $15 million short of the luxury-tax threshold of $189 million.

But if the deal is signed after Opening Day, Trout's contract would count for the 2015 CBT payroll, not '14, and Vernon Wells' contract will finally be off the books, creating significant wiggle room.

Asked if there's any sense of urgency to extend Trout, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto remained mum.

"It's something we're definitely aware of, I know it's something Mike's aware of, but it's nothing that we'll talk about publicly," Dipoto said. "Those are private conversations that we'll have with Mike and his people at the appropriate time."

And when exactly is that appropriate time?

"Whenever we deem it to be, and when I say 'we,' I mean Mike and his people and the Angels," Dipoto said. "I don't think it's fair to discuss any type of contractual negotiation publicly. It's not fair to the club, it's not fair to the player."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez.
Read More: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Mike Trout