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Angels strike deals with four, including Jered Weaver

The Angels avoided arbitration with four players Tuesday, agreeing to one-year contracts with pitcher Jered Weaver, catcher Mike Napoli, infielder Howie Kendrick and outfielder Reggie Willits.

Weaver got the richest deal of the group and will be paid $4.265 million this season with an opportunity to earn more through award bonuses. He was paid $465,000 last season when he was 16-8 with a 3.75 earned-run average, throwing four complete games, including two shutouts.

Napoli, who played in a career-high 114 games last year, hitting 20 home runs and driving in a career-high 56 runs, agreed to a $3.6-million deal that could grow by an additional $100,000 if he starts 120 games.

Kendrick will get $1.75 million, a raise of more than $1.2 million, after a 2009 season that included a demotion to the minors. Kendrick finished the year hitting .291 with career bests for games (105), home runs (10), RBIs (61) and runs (61). And Willits, who has split the last four seasons between the big leagues and the minors, got a $175,000 raise to $625,000.

Pitcher Joe Saunders, catcher Jeff Mathis and infielders Maicer Izturis and Erick Aybar failed to reach terms with the Angels before Tuesday’s deadline to exchange arbitration figures with the team.

Saunders, 33-14 over the last two seasons, is asking for $3.85 million, slightly above the Angels’ offer of $3.6 million, leaving the sides likely to reach a compromise before their arbitration hearing. There’s more distance between the club and the other three players, however, with Izturis asking for $3 million, $700,000 above the Angels’ offer; Aybar seeking $2.75 million, nearly $1 million more than the club figure; and Mathis requesting $1.3 million to the Angels’ offer of $700,000.

If the two sides cannot reach agreement, a February hearing will be scheduled in which an arbitrator will set the player’s salary by choosing either the figure submitted by the club or the one submitted by the player.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com


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