The Angels avoided arbitration with their best pitcher Thursday, agreeing to terms with right-hander Garrett Richards on a one-year, $6.425-million contract for 2016.
Richards, in his second year of arbitration, settled slightly higher than the midpoint of the salary figures he and the team exchanged last week. The Angels offered $5.3 million, and the pitcher countered with $7.1 million.
The hard-throwing Richards, 27, went 15-12 with a 3.65 earned-run average in 32 starts last season, striking out 176 and walking 76 in 207 1/3 innings. He spent all of last winter rehabilitating from surgery for a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee, an injury that ended his 2014 season in late August.
Richards may have earned American League Cy Young Award votes had he not suffered that injury—he had a 13-4 record and 2.61 ERA, with 164 strikeouts and 51 walks in 168 2/3 innings, when he blew out the knee while covering first base in an Aug. 20 game in Fenway Park.
Thursday’s settlement with Richards leaves right fielder Kole Calhoun as the only arbitration-eligible Angels player who has not yet signed. The team offered Calhoun, in his first year of arbitration, $2.35 million, and Calhoun asked for $3.9 million.
The sides have until early February to reach an agreement. If a settlement is not reached, Calhoun would go to a February hearing in which an arbitrator would choose either the team’s salary offer or the player’s figure, but not one in between.