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Angels Sign Howie Kendrick And Reggie Willits, Avoid Arbitration

The Angels reached 2011 contract agreements with both Howie Kendrick and Reggie Willits, avoiding arbitration, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. That brings the total number of deals reached today to four for the Halos. The club earlier today signed both Kendry Morales and Erick Aybar to contracts, avoiding arbitration for them as well. Kendrick signed for $3.3 million, and Willits signed for $775,000, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.

Kendrick hit .279/.313/.407 in a career-high 158 games in 2010. Kendrick set career highs in runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs (tied), RBI, stolen bases, and walks in his first full season of playing time. He made $1.75 million last year, in his first year of arbitration eligibility. In parts of five seasons with the Angels, Kendrick has hit .295/.327/.425 in 515 career games.

Willits made $625,000 in 2010 in his first season of arbitration eligibility. After starting 104 games and qualifying for the batting title in 2007, Willits has been a part-time player in each of the last three seasons. Willits, who is out of options, hit .258/.341/.302 in 182 plate appearances in 2010, appearing in 97 games. Since hitting .293/.391/.344 in 2007, Willits has hit just .228/.316/.265 over the last three seasons combined. Matt Welch, at Halos Heaven, is not impressed:

It's not like Reggie was driving the ball in his good season, either -- his career Isolated Power (slugging-minus-battting average) of .044 is the second-lowest of any current Major Leaguer with more than 625 plate appearances. It's also lower than 11 pitchers. Hell, his career slugging percentage, 2007 season included, is lower than Haren, Carlos Zambrano, and Adam Wainwright. Reggie's one and only offensive skill, besides bunting, is getting himself to first base. And he hasn't been particularly good at that in 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010.

The Angels have had two cases go to an arbitration hearing in the last five seasons. In 2008, closer Francisco Rodriguez lost his case, awarded the $10 million salary submitted by the Angels rather than the $12.5 million salary he was seeking. Last year, the Angels offered $700,000 to catcher Jeff Mathis, but he won his case, awarded a salary of $1.3 million.

Jered Weaver and Mike Napoli were unable to reach agreement on a contract, and exchanged salaries. The Angels have roughly $104.2 million committed to 17 players in 2011.

For more news related to the Angels and salary arbitration, be sure to read Halos Heaven.