Angels right fielder Brian Goodwin wins arbitration case after breakout season

Angels' Brian Goodwin, left, greets a fan during spring training baseball practice on Monday in Tempe, Ariz.
Angels’ Brian Goodwin, left, greets a fan at spring training Monday in Tempe, Ariz.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

A stout season paid off for Angels outfielder Brian Goodwin.

He learned Wednesday that he won his arbitration case. He will earn $2.2 million, a raise of $1.6 million over his 2019 salary.

Goodwin spent last season proving himself worthy of a raise. He appeared in 136 games, hit .262 with a .796 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and belted a career-high 17 home runs. He also collected 29 doubles and 47 RBIs.


It was the first time he played in more than 80 games at the major league level. In most cases, injuries had not permitted him to take the field.

An injury actually opened the door for Goodwin last year. Justin Upton’s severe toe sprain at the end of spring training sent the Angels scrambling for a replacement. Goodwin, a former first-round pick who spent most of the first eight years of his professional career with the Washington Nationals, had just been placed on waivers by the rebuilding Kansas City Royals.

Goodwin, 29, played in 64 of the Angels’ first 72 games. He showed solid defense while gradually improving his reads and throws. A left-handed hitter known more for plate discipline than power, Goodwin didn’t have Upton’s slugging credentials. But Goodwin hit to all fields, an approach that hardly wavered based on the opponent.

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“There has been a trend in my career that when I play, I play well,” Goodwin said. “I put up numbers. There’s nothing [anybody] really can say to argue that. We did what we were supposed to do when the opportunity presented itself. That’s why I was still there at the end of the year. A lot of people said a lot of good stuff about me, the front office, players and teammates from the day I stepped in the locker room, stepped on the field.”

The Angels, who offered Goodwin $1.85 million, had to argue that the player who will likely break camp as their starting right fielder wasn’t worth $2.2 million. Rather than put themselves directly in what can often be an ugly process, they hired third-party lawyers to make their case. Only a few team officials attended the hearing, which took place at a Phoenix area hotel.

The Angels had not taken a player to an arbitration hearing since 2011, when former ace Jered Weaver lost. The team managed to settle all player salaries until Goodwin, eligible for arbitration for the first time, refused to budge on his case.

Angels' Brian Goodwin leaps to catch a line drive against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning at Angel Stadium on Sept. 25, 2019.
(Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

“I don’t think you want to go through it,” Goodwin said. “A lot of people do a lot of things to avoid it, if they can. Like I said, it’s not a pretty process by any means, but I think it’s necessary for players to have a voice and to be able to stand up for themselves, what they believe in and their value.”

Goodwin might have lost his starting job had the trade for Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson gone through. Now he is expected to hold the spot until top prospect Jo Adell is ready for a promotion from triple A.

Former Halos reporting to camp

Angels alumnus Frank Tanana, a former standout pitcher who began his 21-year career with the California Angels in 1973, will be a guest instructor in camp Thursday.

When he was hired in October, manager Joe Maddon emphasized a desire to connect his current players with Angels of the past. Wally Joyner, Bobby Grich, J.T. Snow, Orlando Cabrera, Maicer Izturis, Clyde Wright and Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero also accepted invitations. Former Angels coach Mickey Hatcher might also join the group.


“If the alumni could throw one nugget to somebody, that may stick,” Maddon said. “That’s what I’m looking for — and to build the relationship there. I think there’s [wins above replacement] in the alumni. I think when you reintroduce your tradition and your former players to the group and get them all on the same page, I think that absolutely helps.”

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Short hops

The Angels agreed to bring back former starting pitcher JC Ramírez on a minor league deal, pending physicals. The right-hander spent most of last season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery he underwent in April 2018. He pitched in only five MLB games before being out-righted off the 40-man roster in August. Ramírez, 31, spent part of the winter pitching for Culiacán in the Mexican league. . . . Two-way player Shohei Ohtani swims during the offseason to maintain flexibility in his upper body. Ohtani said he is an average swimmer. “I won’t drown,” he added. Translator Ippei Mizuhara suggested Ohtani did not give himself enough credit. As a child in Japan, Ohtani was told by former Olympic athletes that he could become an excellent swimmer if he dedicated himself to it.