Angels avoid arbitration with Danny Espinosa with 1-year, $5.4M deal

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels have avoided salary arbitration this year, reaching deals with new second baseman Danny Espinosa and four other players Friday.

The Angels also settled on one-year contracts with right fielder Kole Calhoun, catcher Martin Maldonado and right-handed starters Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker.

Richards will make $6.85 million next season, while Calhoun is getting $6.35 million. Espinosa will make $5,425,000 and Shoemaker will earn $3,325,000. Maldonado, the last to sign late Friday, gets $1,725,000.

Richards is the Angels' presumed ace, but he hasn't pitched since May 1 after tearing an elbow ligament. Extensive treatment has allowed him to avoid Tommy John surgery so far, and he plans to resume his career in spring training next month. He made $6,425,000 last season for pitching 34 2/3 innings.

Calhoun's power slightly dipped and his average slightly rose in another strong season for the steady right fielder, who won a Gold Glove in 2015. He gets a solid raise from his $3.4 million last season as a key component of the Angels' long-term future in an outfield with Mike Trout and newcomer Cameron Maybin.

Espinosa gets a hefty raise from the $2,875,000 he earned last season as the Washington Nationals' shortstop. His batting average dropped to .209 last year with 174 strikeouts, but the free-swinging infielder reached career highs with 24 homers and 72 RBI.

The Angels acquired the Orange County native in a trade last month for two minor league pitchers, and they're hoping Espinosa will remedy two seasons of problems at second base. A free-swinging power hitter with an above-average glove, Espinosa didn't play second base last season, but has extensive experience there.

Shoemaker had his breakout big-league season in 2014, but injuries and inconsistency have limited him in the past two years. He has still become a dependable starter, and the Angels expect a major role for him this year after he went 9-13 with a 3.88 ERA last season in 27 starts.

Shoemaker, who had a $530,000 salary last season, apparently has recovered getting hit in the head by a line drive from Seattle's Kyle Seager on Sept. 4, ending his season.

The Angels acquired Maldonado from Milwaukee last month in a trade for Jett Bandy. Maldonado batted .202 with eight homers and 21 RBI for the Brewers, and he will contend for a backup job with Los Angeles.