The Angels informed veteran right-hander Jerome Williams Monday afternoon that they will not be tendering him a contract for 2014, according to a person familiar with the decision but not authorized to speak publicly about it. Williams is now a free agent.
Teams have until 9 p.m. PST Monday to extend contract offers to or non-tender players who are eligible for arbitration. The Angels are expected to offer contracts to third baseman David Freese, first baseman Mark Trumbo and relievers Ernesto Frieri, Kevin Jepsen and Fernando Salas.
In addition to Williams, who is projected to make $3.9 million next season, the Angels did not offer contracts to pitcher Tommy Hanson, who is projected to make $3.9 million, and third baseman Chris Nelson, who is projected to make $1 million but became expendable with the November acquisition of Freese from St. Louis.
Williams, 32, was a valuable member of the Angels for 2 1/2 years, moving back and forth between the bullpen and rotation with no complaint and going 19-18 with a 4.46 earned run average in 79 games, 46 of them starts.
But Williams was inconsistent as a starter, and the Angels believe that they can acquire better pitching through trades or free agency.
The Angels would have liked to have retained Williams as rotation insurance in case of injuries, but with the team already pushing up against the $189-million luxury tax payroll limit for next season, they deemed $3.9 million too much to pay for a swingman.
The Angels could use Joe Blanton, who is guaranteed $7.5 million in 2014, or a less expensive pitcher such as Chris Volstad, who recently signed a minor league deal, to fill that role.
“Honestly, if they don’t tender Jerome, it will be a blessing in disguise,” Larry O’Brien, Williams’ agent, said earlier Monday. “I believe there are a number of teams that will give him the ball every fifth day and a chance to make 32 starts. He’s a horse. He can throw 250 innings. I think he’s going to turn some heads.”
Moments after he got the news from Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto, Williams, who played for several independent-league teams and in Taiwan before signing with the Angels in 2011, took to Twitter, where he said:
“First and foremost, I want to thank the Angels organization for the opportunity to get back to the big leagues. It’s been an awesome time. I met new faces and even better people. I wish all the guys luck in the upcoming year. Now it’s time to move on to the next chapter. And lastly, thank-you, fans. You always were supportive, no matter what was happening.”