Angels avoid arbitration with 5, not Ohtani

January 16th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- The Angels avoided arbitration with five of their six eligible players on Friday but notably could not come to an agreement with two-way star Shohei Ohtani in his first year of eligibility.

The two sides exchanged figures, with Ohtani filing for $3.3 million and the Angels countering at $2.5 million. Angels general manager Perry Minasian confirmed the two sides will head to a hearing in February, when a panel of arbitrators will decide whether Ohtani will earn $3.3 million or $2.5 million in ’21. Minasian also noted that he had discussions with Ohtani’s representatives only about a 2021 contract, signifying the club hasn't discussed a possible extension for Ohtani, who earned $700,000 in ‘20. 

“Both sides agree he deserves a raise, but it’s just how much is the question,” Minasian said. “We weren’t able to come to an agreement, but that’s why this process is in place. Each side will present its case and whatever happens, happens.” 

The Halos went to a hearing with outfielder Brian Goodwin last year and lost their case, marking their first arbitration hearing since 2011 with Jered Weaver. Ohtani is an interesting case as the first two-way player to make it to arbitration, which makes it difficult to use other players as comparisons for salary figures.

“There’s not a lot of comps when you’re looking at a player who has pitched and swung the bat,” Minasian said. “We did the best we could. I give our group a lot credit."

The Angels did reach deals to avoid arbitration with right-hander , left-hander , catcher and relievers and , signing them all to one-year deals, the club announced.

Bundy is coming off his best season in the Majors, posting a 3.29 ERA with 72 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings. He earned a raise to $8.235 million after making $5 million in '20. Bundy, 28, will be a free agent after the season.

Heaney, in his final year of arbitration, agreed to terms at $6.75 million, earning a raise from his $4.3 million contract in 2020. The lefty posted a 4.46 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings and is set to be a free agent after the ’21 season.

Mayers agreed to terms on a $1.2 million deal in his first year of arbitration after a breakout season in relief with the Angels. The right-hander posted a 2.10 ERA with 43 strikeouts in 30 innings in 2020 and will be one of the club's top setup relievers in '21.

Stassi, 29, is set to earn $1.6 million, a raise from his $800,000 contract in 2020. He underwent left hip surgery in October but was productive last season, batting .278/.352/.533 with seven homers and 20 RBIs in 31 games. Minasian said the club is optimistic he’ll be ready for Spring Training.

Peña, 30, pitched exclusively in relief in 2020, posting a 4.05 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings. He made $587,000 in 2020 but will be getting a raise to $1.1 million in his first year of arbitration.