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Rodriguez, Shields receive big raises

Times Staff Writer

Two years ago, the Angels paid about $3.5 million in salary for one of baseball’s better relief corps, a group that included first-year closer Francisco Rodriguez, setup man Scot Shields and Brendan Donnelly.

The cost of business in the bullpen has gone up.

The Angels avoided arbitration with their top two relievers Tuesday, signing Rodriguez to a one-year, $7-million deal and Shields to a one-year, $3.4-million deal, pushing the payroll of their bullpen, which includes Justin Speier ($3.75 million), Hector Carrasco ($3 million) and Darren Oliver ($1.5 million), to almost $19 million.

The Angels also avoided arbitration with Robb Quinlan, signing the utility player to a two-year, $1.85-million contract that will pay him $800,000 next season and $1.05 million in 2008. They have now committed $102.7 million to 18 players under contract.

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Rodriguez, who went 2-3 with a 1.73 earned-run average and an American League-leading 47 saves last season, striking out 98 and walking 28 in 73 innings, almost doubled his 2006 salary of $3.775 million.

Shields, who went 7-7 with a 2.87 ERA in 74 games, striking out 84 and walking 24 in 87 2/3 innings, got a considerable raise from his $2.1 million salary in 2006.

The Angels would like to throw even more money at the right-handers. Though Tuesday’s deals avoided the potentially sticky arbitration process, the Angels will continue to negotiate with the agents for Rodriguez and Shields in hopes of securing them to multiyear deals. Both could become free agents after 2008.

“We’ll keep having dialogue and see if we can get something done,” said Paul Kinzer, Rodriguez’s agent. “Frankie is open to it.”

With Mariano Rivera nearing retirement in New York, the Yankees are already said to be eyeing Rodriguez as a potential replacement. Rodriguez could command a deal in the four-year, $38-million range.

Few setup men have the versatility and resiliency of Shields, whose value is reflected on the trade market -- virtually every team looking to deal with the Angels asks for Shields, who could command a deal in the four-year, $20-million range.

“It’s safe to say that if we had an interest in the past of signing them to long-term deals, which we did, that interest isn’t going to go away,” Angels General Manager Bill Stoneman said.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com


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