Angels offer arbitration to Morales, three others
The Angels are not ready to give up on Kendrys Morales. Though the first baseman's future is clouded by injury and the signing of slugging first baseman Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $254-million deal, the Angels tendered Morales a 2012 contract before Monday night's deadline.
The Angels, as expected, also tendered contracts to three other arbitration-eligible players, second baseman Howie Kendrick, shortstop Erick Aybar and third baseman Alberto Callaspo, assuring that the three infielders will return in 2012.
The offer to Morales means the Angels will commit about $3 million to him in 2012, even though the switch-hitter has missed the last 1 1/2 seasons because of a broken left ankle that he sustained when he jumped onto home plate in celebration of a walk-off home run on May 29, 2010.
Morales is rehabilitating the ankle in Arizona, where he has progressed to batting practice and jogging on a deweighted treadmill. If he can come close to regaining his 2009 form, when he hit .306 with 34 homers and 108 runs batted in, Morales could provide considerable lineup protection to Pujols as a designated hitter.
Morales could also provide power from the left side in a lineup that is predominantly right-handed.
Photo: Angels first baseman Kendrys Morales connects for a run-scoring single during a game against the Minnesota Twins early in the 2010 season. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times