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Angels avoid arbitration with 8 of 9 eligible

@RhettBollinger
January 10, 2020

ANAHEIM -- The Angels avoided arbitration with catcher Max Stassi, infielder Tommy La Stella, left-handed starter Andrew Heaney, right-handed starter Dylan Bundy and righty relievers Hansel Robles, Noé Ramirez, Keynan Middleton and Cam Bedrosian before the deadline Friday to exchange salary figures. But the Angels have yet to reach an

ANAHEIM -- The Angels avoided arbitration with catcher Max Stassi, infielder Tommy La Stella, left-handed starter Andrew Heaney, right-handed starter Dylan Bundy and righty relievers Hansel Robles, Noé Ramirez, Keynan Middleton and Cam Bedrosian before the deadline Friday to exchange salary figures. But the Angels have yet to reach an agreement with outfielder Brian Goodwin.

Goodwin is the lone Angels player who didn’t reach an agreement, as he submitted for $2.2 million and the Angels countered for $1.85 million, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. It could lead to the first arbitration hearing for the club since 2011 with Jered Weaver, a hearing the Angels won. The two sides could still come to an agreement before a hearing, but the club usually sets Friday as a hard deadline to reach a deal.

Goodwin had a breakout season in ’19 and is expected to be the club’s starting right fielder to open the 2020 season. But Goodwin, 29, isn’t likely to have the job for long, with Jo Adell close to reaching the Majors. Once Adell, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Angels' top prospect, takes over in right, Goodwin will become the club’s fourth outfielder, a role he excelled at in ’19.

The Angels and Stassi came to an agreement on Thursday, settling at $800,000, sources told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. This is the first year of arbitration eligibility for the 28-year-old, who may miss the start of the 2020 season after right hip surgery this offseason.

The Angels also settled with Bedrosian, per Feinsand, at $2.8 million on Thursday. Bedrosian, 28, was solid last season, posting a 3.23 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings. He was shut down at the end of the year with right forearm inflammation but is expected to be fully healthy heading into the 2020 season.

Middleton has agreed to a $800,000 deal for 2020, a source told Feinsand. The 26-year-old returned from Tommy John surgery in '19, pitching in 11 games with a 1.17 ERA and six strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. The Angels believe Middleton has the stuff to become an elite reliever, but now he has to prove it in his first full year healthy since the operation.

La Stella, 30, avoided arbitration with a $3.25 million deal, per a source, and is coming off an interesting season that saw him get named an All-Star for the first time, only to miss most of the second half of the season with a fractured right tibia. if La Stella can pick up where he left off before the injury, he’ll be a major part of the lineup while seeing action at second base and first base. He’s also reunited with Joe Maddon, who was his manager with the Cubs.

Heaney, in his second year of arbitration eligibility, agreed to a $4.3 million pact, per a source, and is the veteran of the rotation. But the 28-year-old was limited to 18 starts in 2019, missing time with left elbow inflammation. Heaney struck out 118 batters in 95 1/3 innings, so the Angels are hopeful new pitching coach Mickey Callaway can help put it all together.

Ramirez agreed to pitch in a variety of bullpen roles, including as opener, during a solid campaign that saw him post a 3.99 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings. Ramirez, 30, is expected to serve in a similar capacity in 2020.

Bundy was acquired from the Orioles for four Minor Leaguers on Dec. 4 and gives the Angels much-needed durability. Bundy, 27, has made at least 28 starts in each of the last three seasons and posted a 4.79 ERA with 162 strikeouts in 161 2/3 innings last year. The Angels believe the former first-round pick still has upside.

Robles was a dependable closer for the Angels, racking up 23 saves and 75 strikeouts in 72 2/3 innings. The 29-year-old, who had a career-best 2.48 ERA, will again be the club's closer this upcoming season.

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.