The Angels avoided arbitration with Garrett Richards on Saturday, agreeing to terms with the right-hander on a one-year, $3.2-million contract that was $100,000 above the midpoint of the salaries exchanged between the sides. Richards sought $3.8 million, and the Angels countered with $2.4 million.
The hard-throwing Richards, 26, emerged as one of baseball’s best young pitchers in 2014, going 13-4 with a 2.61 earned-run average and striking out 164 in 168 2/3 innings before tearing the patellar tendon in his left knee while covering first base in an Aug. 20 game in Fenway Park.
Richards underwent surgery and missed the rest of the season, but he has been throwing five times a week at a distance of 130-150 feet and jogging on an anti-gravity treadmill at about 75% of his body weight.
He is scheduled to begin jogging on his own late next week and throwing off a mound in the second week of February, putting him slightly ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation, which was expected to take between six and nine months.
With the Richards deal completed, the Angels have only one remaining arbitration-eligible player who hasn’t signed, outfielder/designated hitter Matt Joyce, who was acquired from Tampa Bay Rays this winter. Joyce is seeking $5.2 million; the Angels countered with $4.2 million.