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Angels sign Alburquerque; trade arbitration figures with Richards, Calhoun

Angels sign Alburquerque; trade arbitration figures with Richards, Calhoun
Reliever Al Alburquerque spent five seasons with the Tigers, compiling a 3.20 earned-run average in 225 innings. (Duane Burleson / Getty Images)

The Angels agreed to terms with veteran reliever Al Alburquerque on a one-year, $1.1-million contract, pending a physical, on Friday, but have yet to reach 2016 contract agreements for two arbitration-eligible players, pitcher Garrett Richards and right fielder Kole Calhoun.

The Angels offered Richards $5.3 million and the hard-throwing right-hander countered with $7.1 million. The team offered Calhoun $2.35 million and he asked for $3.9 million.

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If the sides can't reach agreements in the next two weeks, they would go to hearings in February in which an arbitrator would choose one figure or the other.

Richards, 27, returned from left-knee surgery to go 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. Calhoun, 28, hit .256 with 26 homers, 23 doubles, 83 runs batted in and 78 runs last season, and he won a Gold Glove Award for his defense.

Alburquerque, 29, was not tendered a contract by Detroit after going 4-1 with a 4.21 ERA in 67 games, striking out 58 and walking 33 in 62 innings. He had a 17-6 record and 3.20 ERA in five seasons with the Tigers, averaging 11 strikeouts and 5.0 walks per nine innings.

The average velocity of Alburquerque's fastball has declined steadily, but not precipitously, from a high of 95.4 mph as a rookie in 2011 to a low of 93.1 mph last season, according to Fangraphs. That may have contributed to a drop in his strikeout rate, to 8.4 per nine innings in 2015.

Alburquerque, who is under club control through 2017, will add depth to a bullpen that lost Trevor Gott, who was traded to Washington for third baseman Yunel Escobar. He will join Fernando Salas and Mike Morin in the mix of relievers leading to setup man Joe Smith and closer Huston Street.

Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna

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