Angels 2015 Salary Arbitration Preview

By Brian Helberg
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Jul 27, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Matt Joyce (20) on deck to bat against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

OF Matt Joyce

2015 will be Matt Joyce’s first season as a member of the Angels. Joyce was traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Halos back in December for reliever Kevin Jepsen. Joyce has had an inconsistent career thus far, making an All-Star appearance in 2011, and yet struggling for much of the last two seasons. The 30-year-old outfielder hit .254, with 9 home runs and 52 RBI’s last season for the Rays. Joyce’s 9 home runs were his lowest output since he became a full-time player in 2011. Last season, he registered his lowest single season slugging percentage and OPS of his career. His 111 strikeouts in 2014 were a new single season high. On the positive side of things, his .349 on base percentage was the highest single season mark since becoming a regular.

Joyce was primarily used a corner outfielder for the Rays last season, but in Anaheim he projects as a part-time outfielder who will get plenty of opportunities to become the club’s designated hitter. Rumors suggest the Angels view Joyce as the likely number two hitter in the lineup, behind Kole Calhoun, and in front of Mike Trout.

The Tampa Bay Rays paid Matt Joyce $3.7 million dollars in 2014. MLB Trade Rumors has projected Joyce will earn $4.9 million from the Halos in his last year of arbitration eligibility. Once again MLBTR seems to have nailed this projection, as Joyce’s recent struggles will likely limit his earning potential for this year. Just as in the case with Freese, it may take a special season from Joyce for the Angels to consider re-signing him after 2015.

UPDATE: The Angels were unable to come to an agreement with Matt Joyce and his team. Joyce requested $5.2 million in salary, and the Halos countered with an offer of $4.2 million. The gap here is no too significant, and I anticipate both sides agreeing to a new contract prior to a hearing.

Next: Garrett Richards