ANAHEIM -- The Angels agreed to tender contracts to eight of their nine arbitration-eligible players on Monday, but non-tendered catcher Kevan Smith prior to the deadline.
Otherwise, the Angels tendered contracts to infielder Tommy La Stella, outfielder Brian Goodwin, left-hander Andrew Heaney, catcher Max Stassi and relievers Cam Bedrosian, Hansel Robles, Noé Ramirez and Keynan Middleton. The Angels previously outrighted three arbitration-eligible players in first baseman Justin Bour, reliever Luis García and right-hander Nick Tropeano.
Smith, 31, dealt with several injuries in his lone season with the Angels, missing time with a concussion, a left hand strain and a lower back strain. He hit .251/.318/.393 with five homers, 12 doubles and 20 RBIs in 67 games with the Angels after being claimed off waivers from the White Sox before the season. The four-year veteran has a career slash line of .272/.318/.381 but doesn't grade out well defensively according to advanced metrics.
Stassi, however, was tendered a contract despite undergoing offseason surgery on his right hip that could keep him out past Opening Day. But Stassi is regarded as a better defensive catcher than Smith, which gave him the edge.
It means the Angels will be looking for a catcher this offseason, especially considering that Stassi might not be ready for the start of the season and has struggled offensively in the Majors. They were interested in Yasmani Grandal, but he signed a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox. There are still other veteran catchers on the market including Martín Maldonado, Robinson Chirinos and Jason Castro. Anthony Bemboom remains on the 40-man roster as depth but they don’t have any catching prospects considered close to the Majors.
Catchers non-tendered by other clubs included Pittsburgh’s Elias Díaz, Oakland’s Josh Phegley, Arizona’s Caleb Joseph and Cleveland’s Kevin Plawecki. There were several notable players non-tendered by other clubs as well on Monday, including A's reliever Blake Treinen, D-backs right-hander Taijuan Walker, Giants outfielder Kevan Pillar, Cubs infielder Addison Russell, Mariners outfielder Domingo Santana and Twins first baseman C.J. Cron.