Angels Avoid Arbitration with Garrett Richards


Jon Heyman of CBS Sports broke the news on Saturday that the Angels and pitcher Garrett Richards have agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth $3.2 million dollars. Richards’ arbitration hearing was set for later this month, but by signing the contract, both sides will be able to avoid going to court.

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Garrett Richards qualified for arbitration for the first time this offseason as a super-two player. After putting together his best season as pro in 2014, he appeared likely to cash in big time. However, a devastating knee injury suffered late in the season complicated his case. Both parties exchanged numbers last month; Richards requested $3.8 million and the Halos countered at $2.4 million. The two sides ended up settling $100,000 dollars over the mid point between the two figures.

The 26-year-old righty went 13-4 and posted a 2.61 ERA across 168.2 innings pitched. Richards dazzled fans in 2014, striking out 8.8 batters per 9 innings. He did a great job of limiting baserunners, holding the opposition to just 1.038 walks/hits per inning. Richards had the look of a future ace until suffering a season ending knee injury in August at Fenway Park. Thankfully, the injury was not to his pitching arm, so the potential is still there for stardom. While the Edmond, OK product may not be on the hill for opening day, he is the Angels’ most important hurler heading into 2015.

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In December, Angels’ skipper Mike Scioscia stated that Garrett Richards was on pace to make his 2015 debut sometime in May. His recovery seems to be progressing faster than originally expected, as Mike Digiovanna reported recently that Richards is on schedule to return in April. The same report indicated that Richards is expected to begin throwing off a mound within the next two-weeks. Combining Richards with Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, and Matt Shoemaker gives the Angels one of the better starting rotations in the game. Getting Richards back a month early could be the difference between making the playoffs and falling just short in the improved American League West.

Alden Gonzalez of reported this week that General Manager Jerry Dipoto is interested in sitting down to discuss a contract extension with Garrett Richards this spring in Tempe. Many people believed a potentially contentious arbitration hearing between Richards and Angels could derail extension negotiations. Now that the two sides have avoided the hearing, they can focus their efforts on working out a long-term contract. I still think it is unlikely the Angels lock up Richards this offseason, but by avoiding the arbitration hearing, it does show Dipoto has a good working relationship with Richards’ representation. If Richards can put up similar numbers this season to what he produced in 2014, I anticipate the Angels extending him next winter.

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