Trout, Angels agree to $144.5 million, 6-year deal

AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels agreed Friday night to a $144.5 million, six-year contract, keeping baseball's brightest young star under club control through 2020.

The Angels said the 22-year-old outfielder and his family will be at a news conference Saturday in Anaheim to formally announce the contract along with owner Arte Moreno, manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Jerry Dipoto.

Few players in major league history have approached Trout's accomplishments in his first two full major league seasons. The speedy center fielder is both a spectacular five-tool player and the darling of baseball's sabermetrics crowd, putting up old-fashioned highlights and statistical superlatives on a weekly basis.

"I think everybody is obviously thrilled that it got done," Scioscia said at Dodger Stadium after the Angels' exhibition game, which Trout missed with a stomach virus. "He's a special player and a special person."

The Millville, N.J., product was a unanimous choice for AL Rookie of the Year in 2012, and he finished second in AL MVP voting to Miguel Cabrera the past two years.

He gets a $5 million signing bonus, of which $2 million is due within 30 days of the contract's approval and $3 million by Oct. 15. Trout's salaries are $5.25 million in 2015, $15.25 million in 2016, $19.25 million in 2017 and $33.25 million in each of the final three seasons.

He receives a full-no trade provision and the right to a luxury suite at the ballpark for 20 games per year starting in 2015.

Trout's Amazon Sales came on the same day Cabrera finalized a $292 million, 10-year deal with the Detroit Tigers, the richest contract in American sports.

The free-spending Angels were determined to reward Trout while locking up their prized possession beyond his first few years of eligibility for arbitration and free agency. Los Angeles has been quietly negotiating with Trout's representatives throughout spring training, and the club closed the deal three days before opening day at Angel Stadium.

Trout agreed on Feb. 26 to a $1 million, one-year contract for 2014, much more than the Angels were required to offer him. His new deal runs from 2015-20.

The outfielder would have been eligible for arbitration for the first time after this season, and for free agency following the 2017 World Series. Now, he can't become a free agent until at least age 29.

It's the latest big-money deal for the Angels, who are entering the third season of a $240 million, 10-year contract with first baseman Albert Pujols, the second season of a $125 million, five-year agreement with outfielder Josh Hamilton and the third season of an $85 million, five-year contract with pitcher Jered Weaver.

But while the Angels' deals for Pujols and Hamilton have been criticized for their lavish nature and the thirty-something sluggers' ensuing lack of production, Los Angeles is locking up Trout early in an uncommonly promising career.

Trout's contract isn't worth as much as Cabrera's lavish deal in Detroit, but it still would allow Trout to hit free agency at an age when he could still be in the prime of his career.

And when his new deal ends, Trout will still be younger than the 30-year-old Cabrera is now.

Trout's average salary of $24,083,333 under the new deal is ninth in the majors, trailing only those of Clayton Kershaw, Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez, Justin Verlander, Ryan Howard, Hamilton, Felix Hernandez and Zack Greinke.

Trout is batting .314 with 62 homers and 196 RBIs in just 336 career games, including 40 games in 2011. The speedy center fielder also has stolen 86 bases while playing stellar defense and making two All-Star teams, starting for the AL last summer.

He is one of four players in baseball history to bat .320 with 50 homers and 200 runs in his first two full seasons, joining Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Pujols.

Trout has accomplished just about everything except team success during his short major league career. The Angels have missed the playoffs in four consecutive seasons, and they finished 78-84 last year, their worst record in a decade.

The deal provides huge security for Trout. He received a bonus of $1,215,000 when he signed after the Angels selected him with the 25th overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft. He made $482,500 two years ago and earned a $10,000 bonus for winning the rookie award, then was unilaterally renewed by the Angels last year at $510,000 - $20,000 above the big league minimum at the time.

That deal sparked criticism from many Angels fans who thought Trout deserved more compensation for his outstanding play. They also worried the relatively meager deal - and the Angels' decision to move Trout from his preferred center field to left last season - might sour the budding superstar on the team.

Trout is back in center field this season, and Moreno made sure Trout couldn't doubt the Angels' financial commitment to him.


AP Sports Writers Ronald Blum and Mike Fitzpatrick in New York contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Saturday, March 29, 2014
Posted by Vicent Tran

GDC 2014: A Look at IGF Nominated 'Symmetrain', a Mashup of Endless Runner and... Spot the Difference?

<Super Salep>Last night we had a small gathering for developer and fans of TouchArcade to come hand out and shoot the breeze, and one game that was getting a lot of buzz as it made its way around the crowd is Daniel Goffin's Symmetrain [$0.99]. While not exactly a new game-it was released back in late October, and Eli's even streamed it a few times on our Twitch channel-I personally hadn't seen it, and both its premise and lovely art style really caught my attention. As the title of this post suggests, Symmetrain mashes together an endless progression with a spot the difference mechanic. It sounds super weird, but it totally works. Check out our video of Symmetrain as we chat with Daniel about his game.

The reason Daniel is at GDC showing off Symmetrain is because it was nominated for an IGF award in the Student Showcase category. It's easy to see why as it's a really eye-catching game with a really unique concept. If it sounds interesting to you as well, it'll run you just a buck to check it out for yourself.

Friday, March 21, 2014
Posted by Vicent Tran

Video Report: Local news, traffic conditions and weather

■ A Lee County crash was causing injuries and a roadblock as of 9:20 a.m. The crash at Gladiolus Drive and Maida Lane was reported at about 8 a.m. There is a roadblock in the eastbound lanes of Gladiolus Drive.

Watch for a disabled vehicle in the roadway at mile marker 142 of Interstate 75 southbound in North Fort Myers.

And look out for a Lee County crash along I-75 involving injuries. The crash was not causing a roadblock as of 7:20 a.m. It took place in southbound lanes near mile marker 119.

The Florida Highway Patrol is warning Collier motorists to use caution along I-75 this morning, especially in the area of mile marker 80 where fog can be seen hovering above the roads.

A North Fort Myers crash is causing a roadblock in southbound lanes at the intersection of North Cleveland Avenue and Pine Island Road.

■ The Lee County Sheriff's Office's Traffic Unit will target at least one of the following three locations for enforcement: Richmond Avenue, Lehigh Acres; Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach; Staley Road, Fort Myers.

■ Southwest Florida weather com code: Now that a cold front has pushed through the area, expect more sunshine and a warming trend through the week in Southwest Florida. CLICK HERE for the forecast.

■ Naples City Council will hold its regular meeting at 8:30 a.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 735 Eighth St. S. Among items to be discussed are proposed potable and reclaimed water rates and discounts; charging about 50 residents on four streets a special assessment to hook up to sanitary and sewer lines; prohibiting certain fishhooks to limit pelican injuries; and possibly replacing the Code Enforcement Board with a special magistrate.

■ The Immokalee Community Redevelopment Agency & the Enterprise Zone Development Agency meet at 8:30 a.m.

■ The Senate Community Affairs Committee will take up a proposal (SB 320), filed by Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, that would place regulations on the parasailing industry. It's at 11 a.m., 301 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.

■ The Senate Finance and Tax Subcommittee will take up a proposal (SB 792), filed by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, that would create a sales-tax holiday for back-to-school shoppers over a three-day period in August. During the period, people could buy items such as clothes and school supplies without paying sales taxes. It's at 5 p.m., 37 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.

© 2014 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Posted by Vicent Tran

Freebie Alert: Charming and Challenging Platformer 'Mutant Mudds' Currently Free

<Price Comparep>One of my very favorite platformers, Renegade Kid's Mutant Mudds [ Free], is currently free on the App Store. Originally released on the Nintendo 3DS in January of 2012, Mutant Mudds made its debut on the App Store in December of that same year, and proved to be quite a hit. It's more of a slow-paced action platformer, as you'll need to take your time and make precise jumps in order to get past the many enemies in the game. It's very challenging, but also very satisfying. There's a hint of Metroidvania in it too, as you'll slowly unlock and upgrade new weapons and abilities that allow you to revisit previous levels and gain access to new areas. Finally, one of its key elements is the ability to jump in-between three levels of depth in the environment. There's a normal middle plane, a farther away plane in the background, and even an extreme close-up foreground plane. It's a neat effect, but it also ties into much of the puzzling and exploring in Mutant Mudds.

Being a game built for a platform like the 3DS, Mutant Mudds often demands precision, but thankfully everything holds up quite well on the touchscreen. As I mentioned, it's the kind of game where you'll really want to take your time and think about your actions, though levels are timed so you can speed run them if you feel so inclined. It's just an all-around great platformer filled with tons of levels to complete and plenty of little secrets to discover. Being that it's currently free, it shouldn't take much convincing to get you to download and try it, but you could always consult our full review of Mutant Mudds if you want more insight.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Posted by Vicent Tran

Super Killer Hornet Resurrection Gets Flash Sale on OUYA ‹ Hardcore Gamer

Printable Coupons-killer-hornet-resurrection-gets-flash-sale-on-ouya/77388/">

Flump Studios, the group behind Super Killer Hornet Resurrection, has made the brand-new OUYA version available in a flash sale. For the next day, or until Saturday March 8, OUYA owners can snatch up this math/shooter hybrid for a mere dollar. This makes it the cheapest version of the game available on a console as the Xbox Live Indie Marketplace version is $2, while the OUYA version is normally $3. Like the original game, this one gives you a challenging, but not overly-difficult shooter that requires a bit more strategy than most. During the shooting action, you'll be bombarded with numbers and you'll need to solve the math problems that pop up to get bonuses. It's a bit like edutainment, but fun - it would've been by far the best game that tried to teach kids math in the 16-bit era because there's actually action in it! It's also got a really awesome soundtrack, so pick this up if you dig shooters and don't mind a little math - here's some footage of how this combination all comes together in the end product.

Friday, March 7, 2014
Posted by Vicent Tran

Deals of the day: Pabst Blue Ribbon on the block?

NJoy, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based maker of electronic cigarettes, has raised $72 million in new VC funding at a reported $1 billion valuation. New backers include Brookside Capital and Morgan Stanley Investment Management. Existing investors include Catterton Partners, Fidelity Investments and The Founders Fund.

DueDil, a UK-based provider of private company information, has raised $17 million in Series B funding. Oak Investment Partners led the round, and was joined by fellow return backers Notion Capital and Passion Capital.

RainDance Technologies Inc., a Lexington, Mass.-based developer of microdroplet-based solutions for single molecule and single cell analysis, has $16.5 million in new VC funding from GE Ventures and Northgate Capital. This brings the company's Series E round to $36.5 million, including prior commitments from Myriad Genetics Inc., Mohr Davidow Ventures, Quaker BioVentures, Alloy Ventures, Acadia Woods Partners and Sectoral Asset Management.

Berkshire Partners has agreed to acquire Catalina Marketing, a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based consumer marketing company, from Hellman & Friedman. No financial terms were disclosed, although prior reports suggested that bids could come in at between $2 billion and $2.5 billion. Silver Lake also submitted an offer.

Fred's Inc. (Nasdaq: FRED), a Memphis-based chain of retail discount stores and full service pharmacies, has reached out to such possible buyers as H.I.G. Capital, CVS Caremark, Walgreen Co. and Dollar General Corp., according to Bloomberg. The company's current market cap is around $733 million.

FrontStream Holdings LLC, an online corporate philanthropy platform, has acquired TRUiST, a Washington, D.C.-based provider of philanthropy solutions. FrontStream is a portfolio company of Arsenal Capital Partners.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. has acquired a majority stake in Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., a Memphis, Tenn.-based provider of claims and productivity management solutions, for $2.4 billion. Sellers include Hellman & Friedman and Stone Point Capital, although Stone Point is joining KKR as a minority equity partner.

Modern Healthcare, a Monrovia, Calif.-based provider of specialty pharma services, has acquired two specialty pharmacies: Total Life Care Rx Pharmacy LLC (New Orleans) and Legacy Rx Holdings LLC (Orlando, FL). No financial terms were disclosed. Modern Healthcare is a portfolio company of Altamont Capital Partners.

Northstar Travel Media, a Secaucus, N.J.-based travel media company, has acquired Travel Weekly China, Travel Weekly Asia,and Events China from Singapore-based Contineo Media. No financial terms were disclosed. Northstar Travel is owned by Wicks Group of Companies.

Riverbed Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: RVBD) has received buyout interest at around $25 per share from such firms as Silver Lake, KKR and Thoma Bravo, according to Bloomberg. A $25 per share offer would value the San Francisco-based networking equipment company at around $4.5 billion (including debt). It recently rejected a $21 per share offer from Elliott Management Corp., which previously had offered $19 per share.

Saban Capital, Discovery Communications, Scripps Networks and Viacom all have submitted bids for UK television broadcaster Channel 5, according to the FT. Seller Richard Desmond is seeking around £700 million.

TriArtisan Capital Partners and Sentinel Capital Partners are in "advanced talks" to buy casual restaurant chain TGI Fridays from a subsidiary of Carlson Cos., according to Reuters. The Promotional Code could be valued at between $800 million and $900 million, with Morgan Joseph managing the process.

Castlight Health, an online application that lets companies provide employees with personalized shopping tools for healthcare benefits, has set its IPO terms to 11.1 million shares being offered at between $9 and $11 per share. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol CSLT, with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley serving as lead underwriters. Castlight reports a $62 million net loss on $13 million in revenue for 2013, compared to a $35 million net loss on $4 million in revenue for 2012. Shareholders include Venrock (20.6% pre-IPO stake), Oak Investment Partners (15.8%), Maverick Capital (10.2%), Fidelity Investments (9.8%) and The Wellcome Trust (8.7%).

, a San Ramon, Calif.-based provider of cloud contact center software, has filed for a $115 million IPO. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol FIVN, with J.P. Morgan, Barclays and BofA Merrill Lynch serving as lead underwriters. The company reports a $31 million net loss on $84 million in revenue for 2013, compared to a $19 million net loss on $64 million in revenue for 2012. Shareholders include Hummer Winblad Venture Partners (23.2% pre-IPO stake), Adams Street Partners (19.8%), Partech International (17.4%), Mosaic Venture Partners (17.4%) and SAP Ventures.

Galmed Pharmaceuticals Ltd., an Israel-based developer of an oral therapy for the treatment of liver diseases and cholesterol gallstones, has set its IPO terms to 2.35 million shares being offered at between $12 and $14 per share. It would have an initial market cap of around $132 million, were it to price in the middle of its range. The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol GLMD, with Maxim Group serving as underwriter.

GrubHub, a Chicago-based online food ordering company, has filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol GRUB, with Citigroup listed as left lead underwriter. The company reports $6.7 million in net income on $137 million in revenue for 2013. Shareholders include Spectrum Equity (12% pre-IPO stake), Warburg Pincus (9.1%), Thomas H. Lee Partners (8.9%), GS Capital Partners (8.9%), Benchmark (8.3%) and Origin Ventures (6.2%). Read more at

Ignyta Inc., a San Diego-based developer of personalized medicine in autoimmune diseases, has filed for a $46 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol RXDX, with Leerink Partners serving as lead underwriter. Shareholders in the pre-revenue company include City Hill Ventures (24.5% pre-IPO stake), Visium Balanced Master Fund (6.16%) and Colt Ventures.

R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. (Nasdaq: RRD) Sbarro, a Melville, N.Y.-based chain of pizza stores, is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection, according to Bloomberg.

C. Dean Metropoulos has hired Perella Weinberg Partners to find a buyer for Los Angeles-based beer brand Pabst Blue Ribbon, according to Reuters. Metropoulos acquired Pabst Blue Ribbon in 2010 for $250 million, and is expecting to generate bids of between $500 million and $1 billion.

Comcast has agreed to acquire FreeWheel, a San Mateo, Calif.-based online ad-serving platform for TV broadcasters, for approximately $320 million, according to TechCrunch. FreeWheel had raised around $37 million in VC funding from Battery Ventures, Foundation Capital, Steamboat Ventures and Turner Broadcasting.

Montagu Private Equity has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to find a buyer for UK-based electronics retailer Maplin, according to The Guardian. The deal could be worth upwards of £200 million.

Fast Retailing Co. (Tokyo: 9983) and South Korea's E.Land Group are considering separate acquisition offers for U.S. apparel retailer J. Crew Group Inc., according to Reuters. J. Crew owners Leonard Green & Partners and TPG Capital would be seeking a minimum of $5 billion, and also are considering an IPO. The firms purchased J. Crew for $2.8 billion in 2011.

Themes Investment Partners has sold Standard Water Group, a Chinese wastewater treatment company, to Beijing Enterprise Water Group (HK: 371) for approximately $218 million.

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Monday, March 3, 2014
Posted by Vicent Tran

Microsoft's OneDrive For Business Throws Down Gauntlet For Box, Dropbox

Microsoft announced today that the business end of OneDrive, its cloud storage offering, would be unshackled from its other services, and sold as a standalone cloud storage solution for corporate customers. Cue a surprised gasp from the audience.

Microsoft has been working towards this result for some time. After building SkyDrive up from Windows Live Folders, the company released SkyDrive Pro before the recent rebrand, but that product was lost in the greater sea of other Microsoft productivity offerings. It was an also-ran.

Now, with OneDrive for Business - the new SkyDrive Pro - Microsoft is selling cloud storage directly to businesses, no other strings attached. If you don't want to buy into an Office-as-a-service contract, you can still buy cloud storage from Microsoft.

This comes as part of Microsoft's recent move to boost usage of its cloud storage platform, from both consumers and now businesses alike. OneDrive has a huge user base with north of 250 million accounts, but recent conversations with the company have intimated that engagement - usage, really - among those gobs of humans is low, or at least lower than they want.

Putting aside consumers, we have two questions: How does Microsoft's business offering stack up to the competition, and, of course, why does cloud storage matter to begin with? Why is Microsoft picking this fight? Good questions. Let's answer them.

OneDrive vs. Box vs. dropbox pricing

Cloud file storage may be the best funded niche in technology ever. Dropbox has raised $607 million. Box has raised $414 million. That's more than a billion for just two players in the market. So, Microsoft is coming into this behind. I say that under the presumption that SkyDrive Pro, being all but invisible, didn't accrete much market or dollar share in its short life.

To compensate for its deficit, Microsoft is offering a deep discount - 50 percent - for a few months. Here are the comparable tiers at the three companies:

  • Microsoft: $5 per user per month: 25GB per user. (Promotional pricing April through September: $2.50 per user per month for 25GB per user. For certain enterprise customers: $1.50 per user per month.)
  • Box: $5 per user per month: 100GB per user.
  • Dropbox: $9.99 per user per month: 100GB per user.

So during its promotional period, Microsoft is offering a service with a commensurate per-gigabyte cost to Dropbox. Microsoft states that companies can buy more storage as they need.

Box and Dropbox both offer plans with unlimited storage. I think that implies where the fee per gigabyte is going for paid cloud storage products: zero. But we're a ways from that now. Moore and his little law will push that curve for us.

Why would you use OneDrive for Business over Dropbox or Box, two companies that have seen quick revenue growth, implying that their product-market fit is strong? Well, Microsoft doesn't appear to be playing that game, yet at least. According to TechCrunch's Frederic Lardinois, Microsoft is positioning OneDrive for business as an early step towards cloud for companies: "[OneDrive] is meant for companies that want to keep their on-premise infrastructure intact, but still want to start moving to the cloud for file storage and sharing."

This makes some sense: Microsoft's OneDrive is still in the process of a rebrand, and the company's online version of Office was - finally - rebranded Office Online and moved to recently. Microsoft is moving in the right direction here, but at a paced speed.

So among potential clients looking for an aggressive bent towards the cloud, Box and Dropbox will retain their current market advantage. But what Microsoft is building is interesting, as it is taking the direct opposite approach of Box: Box built cloud storage and now wants to build editing tools on top; Microsoft built Office, and now wants to place cloud storage up underneath it.

I've written that Box represents a threat to Office, given that people like editing tools near where their files live. So as Box picked up corporate clients' files, it was building an opportunity to create editing tools that it could charge from, stealing oxygen from Microsoft's Office empire. The hiring of former Office man Steven Sinofsky, and the release of Box Notes carried the theme.

Box has done an excellent job growing. Its burn rate aside, Box is heading public, a testament to its rapid top-line expansion. Dropbox can't be too far behind. But even though those firms are performing well, the picture that Microsoft is drawing could loom in their future.

Most companies use Windows and Office. A slowly falling percentage, yes, but it's still mostly the case for companies of scale. OneDrive for Business opens a pathway for Microsoft to come in and offer change, but also stability. You want that cloud thing? Well, how about some Office Cloud that plugs into Windows. Once Microsoft fully matures Office Online, and creates perfect real-time collaboration between Office desktop and web apps, the SkyDrive storage solution will be attractive. The Office tie-in is the best thing Microsoft can offer as a competitive advantage.

But that is still a ways off. Today is a single step in that direction. A big enough movement to slow Dropbox or Box? Not in the short term, I'd say. But both those companies now have to think of another player in the space they have all but created.

Viva la platform wars.

Posted by Vicent Tran

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