Angels to make decisions on David Freese, Gordon Beckham by Tuesday
The Angels are expected to tender David Freese a 2015 contract before Tuesday’s 9 p.m. PST deadline, a move that would put the veteran third baseman in line for a salary of about $6.3 million in arbitration next season.
The team is not expected to make a similar tender offer to Gordon Beckham, but that doesn’t mean the veteran infielder, who was acquired from the Chicago White Sox Aug. 21, won’t return in 2015.
The Angels would like Beckham back as a utility infielder or as insurance in case they trade second baseman Howie Kendrick or Freese, but not at $5 million, the salary Beckham, 28, is projected to make in his third year of arbitration.
Beckham, who hit .268 in 26 games for the Angels last season, primarily plays second base but also showed an ability to play third and shortstop.
The Angels will not bring back veteran infielder John McDonald, so they have a need for a utility man. If Beckham, who hit .270 with 14 home runs and 63 runs batted in as a Chicago White Sox rookie in 2009, is non-tendered, the Angels will attempt to sign him as a free agent at a lower salary.
Freese, 31, had a subpar 2014 season, batting .260 with 10 homers and 55 RBIs in 134 games. He missed three weeks of May because of a fractured middle finger on his right hand.
But with third-base prospect Kaleb Cowart, a former first-round pick, stalled at double-A, the Angels don’t have a better in-house option at third base. So they will secure Freese, who was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals last winter, for at least one more season.
Of the Angels’ seven other arbitration-eligible players, six are locks to be tendered 2015 contracts — Garrett Richards, Kevin Jepsen, Hector Santiago, Fernando Salas, Cesar Ramos and Collin Cowgill.
Reliever Vinnie Pestano, who was eligible for arbitration, agreed to a $1.15-million deal on Nov. 10, and the Angels appear undecided on veteran pitcher Wade LeBlanc.
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