Halos, Kendrick agree to four-year extension
Second baseman's new contract covers final year of arbitration
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com | 01/08/12 5:13 PM EST
ANAHEIM -- The Angels' busy offseason didn't end with the signing of two of baseball's most heralded free agents.
On Saturday night, the team made sure one of its most valued players stayed in-house.
Second baseman Howard Kendrick, a key cog in manager Mike Scioscia's lineup the last few years, has agreed on a four-year extension with the only organization he's ever known, industry sources confirmed to MLB.com. The deal, which USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported to be worth $33.5 million, won't be official until Kendrick undergoes a physical this week.
Once the deal is finalized, it'll take care of Kendrick's final season of arbitration and his first three free-agent years.
And it'll be only the latest chapter in an eventful offseason for the Angels, who a month ago committed nearly $330 million to free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, instantly making themselves legitimate title contenders.
Kendrick's extension comes on the heels of his best season, one that saw him bat .285 with 14 stolen bases while setting career-highs in homers (18), triples (six) and slugging percentage (.464) en route to making his first All-Star team. He ranked third among Major League second basemen in Ultimate Zone Rating (14.4), placed fifth at his primary position in Wins Above Replacement (5.8) and also saw time at first base and left field.
The 28-year-old right-handed hitter was a 10th-round Draft pick by the Angels in 2002 and has compiled a .292 batting average, .329 on-base percentage, 50 homers and 61 stolen bases in his first six seasons with the team. While playing an average of 149 games over the past two seasons, Kendrick has produced a slash line of .282/.325/.434 while adding 28 homers, 138 RBIs and 28 steals.
Kendrick made $3.3 million last season and was expected to garner something in the range of $5 million via arbitration this year. Now, his reported figure carries an average annual value of $8.375 million, which ranks fourth among second basemen -- trailing the Braves' Dan Uggla, the Phillies' Chase Utley and the Orioles' Brian Roberts.
Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said Thursday that he had begun preliminary talks with Kendrick's representative, Larry Reynolds, and apparently, those discussions moved rather quickly.
Dipoto's next task is to lock up shortstop Erick Aybar, who's also going into his final season before free agency and could land a similar deal to his up-the-middle partner.
"Howie and Erick are both career-long Angels; we want to make sure that continues," Dipoto said on Thursday. "We have four arbitration-eligible players remaining and they're all important to us, and we want to make sure that each one of them is given the appropriate attention. We've already taken the initial steps in the case of Howie and Erick and making sure we can make them a part of what we're doing here moving forward."
The Angels' two other arbitration-eligible players are infielders Kendrys Morales and Alberto Callaspo, both of whom are two years away from free agency.