The Angels are next in our 2012 Contract Issues series. Here's what the team faces after the 2011 season:
Eligible For Free Agency (2)
- Starter Joel Pineiro will be the Angels' most significant free agent. Though he's missed about a dozen starts in his Angels career due to injuries, he's also maintained much of his '09 success with a 3.73 ERA in 159 1/3 innings. Pineiro might be able to repeat his two-year, $16MM deal on the open market depending on how the rest of this season goes. He gives the Angels nice depth as their fourth starter.
- The Angels will be done with Fernando Rodney, whose two-year, $11MM deal was questionable from the start.
Contract Options (2)
- Scott Kazmir: $13.5MM club option with a $2.5MM buyout. Barring a shocking performance, Kazmir will become a free agent.
- Bobby Abreu: $9MM option vests with 433 plate appearances in 2011. Abreu needs only 308 more plate appearances, so three more months should do it.
Arbitration Eligible (7)
- First time: None
- Second time: Kendrys Morales, Alberto Callaspo
- Third time: Jered Weaver, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, Jeff Mathis, Reggie Willits
Weaver's arbitration case should be a big story in January and February of 2012, especially if his dominant 2011 season continues. We'll have more on this topic later, but even after losing a hearing in February many agents think he'll be around $14-15MM for '12.
Morales hasn't played since breaking a bone in his leg almost a year ago. His raise should be mild because of that. Kendrick could jump up to $6MM, and raises for the others could put the group around $34MM if everyone is tendered a contract. It is possible Mathis and Willits are cut loose, dropping the team's estimated arbitration eligible bill closer to $30MM.
2012 Payroll Obligation
The Angels' 2012 payroll obligation, according to Cot's, is $79.117MM including Kazmir's buyout but not Abreu's. Throw in at least $39MM more for Abreu and the arbitration eligibles, and you're around $118MM. That's about $24MM shy of this year's payroll, so there is room to re-sign Pineiro while also considering a free agent or two to upgrade the left side of the infield. If an infielder surplus is created, the team could shed a few million by trading someone. They could also save on 2012 payroll by locking up Kendrick or even Weaver, if the righty is willing to buck the trend of top Scott Boras clients testing free agency.