Ohtani, Bundy among 6 arb-eligible Angels

January 13th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- After paring down their number of arbitration-eligible players this offseason with a variety of moves, the Angels have six players still eligible heading into Friday’s deadline to exchange figures for unsigned players.

The most prominent Angels player eligible for arbitration is , who is eligible for the first time and has an interesting case as a true two-way player. Right-hander , left-hander , catcher and relievers and are also eligible for arbitration.

If the club and a player can’t agree to terms before Friday’s deadline, then a hearing is scheduled in February. Last year, the Angels agreed to terms with eight of their nine eligible players before the deadline but went to a hearing with outfielder Brian Goodwin, who eventually won his case. It was the first time the Angels went to a hearing since 2011 with Jered Weaver.

The Angels had 11 players eligible early in the offseason but made several changes to their roster, including removing relievers Justin Anderson, Matt Andriese, Keynan Middleton and Hansel Robles from the 40-man and trading reliever Noé Ramirez to the Reds. The Angels have been in the process of remaking their bullpen as a result, acquiring closer Raisel Iglesias from Cincinnati and signing lefty Alex Claudio to a one-year deal.

Here’s a look at the six Angels players eligible for arbitration and what to expect during the process:

RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani
After three seasons with the Angels, Ohtani is due for his first significant raise with the club in his first year of arbitration. The 26-year-old remains under team control through 2023, as he’ll be eligible for the process in the next two offseasons as well. Ohtani, the 2018 American League Rookie of the Year Award winner, is coming off a down season, however, that saw him hit .190/.291/.366 with seven homers and 24 RBIs in 44 games as a designated hitter, while also making only two starts on the mound before suffering a season-ending elbow/forearm injury. Ohtani’s injury concerns over the last three seasons, including his Tommy John surgery in 2018 that prevented him from pitching in ‘19, will keep him from a huge raise. But he's projected to earn $3 million in arbitration, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts, after making $700,000 (non-prorated) in 2020. And there’s still a chance the Angels could look to sign Ohtani to an extension at some point in the near future.

RHP Dylan Bundy
Bundy is eligible for arbitration for a third and final time and should get a solid raise after a breakout season that saw him go 6-3 with a 3.29 ERA in 11 starts to finish ninth in the balloting for the AL Cy Young Award. The 28-year-old earned $5 million in 2020 and is likely to see that figure jump to close to $7 million in 2021, according to Cot's. Like Ohtani, the Angels could have some interest in extending Bundy, as starting pitching remains the club’s biggest issue and Bundy has developed into a well-above-average starter.

LHP Andrew Heaney
Heaney, 29, is one of the club's longest-tenured players, as he's been with the Angels since 2015 and is eligible for arbitration for a final time. His 2020 salary was $4.3 million and he posted a 4.46 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings. He led the team with 12 starts, proving he could stay healthy in the shortened season. He's likely to earn roughly $6 million in arbitration.

C Max Stassi
Stassi played well in his role as the club's primary catcher in 2020, batting .278/.352/.533 with seven homers and 20 RBIs in 31 games. The 29-year-old is eligible for arbitration for a second time after making $800,000 in '20. Stassi, who is coming off right hip surgery, is estimated to earn a raise to roughly $1.2 million. He could be the club's primary catcher again, although the Angels have been linked to the Cubs' Willson Contreras, who is reportedly available via trade.

RHP Mike Mayers
Mayers had a breakout year in relief with the Angels after four seasons with the Cardinals, posting a 2.10 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 30 innings in 2020. The 29-year-old is eligible for the first time and is projected to get a raise to roughly $800,000 in '21.

RHP Felix Peña
After spending time as both a starter and a reliever, Peña made the full-time move to the bullpen in 2020, carrying a 4.05 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings. Like Mayers, Peña is eligible for the first time and is estimated to earn about $800,000 via arbitration.