Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Angels Sign Washburn, Molina & Shields to Avoid Arbitration

Fresh on the heels of yesterday's signing of arbitration eligible outfielder Jeff DaVanon, the Angels agreed to terms with their three remaining arbitration eligible players. Here is the Angels official announcement:

The Angels agreed to terms on 2005 contracts with left-handed starter Jarrod Washburn, reliever Scot Shields and catcher Jose Molina on Tuesday.

Washburn, 30, was 11-8 with a 4.64 ERA in an injury-shortened
2004 season. His career winning percentage of .578 (67-49) is second-best in franchise history.

Shields, 29, posted an 8-2 record with four saves and a 3.33 ERA in 60 games last season. Among AL relievers, Shields ranked first in innings pitched and third in strikeouts.

Molina, 29, batted .261 with 25 RBIs in 73 games in 2004.
He set career-bests in all offensive categories and threw out an AL best 45-percent of potential basestealers.

Terms were not disclosed by the Angels.

Quick Analysis:

Washburn - I don't care what is career winning percentage is, he compiled most of those from 2000 - 2002 when he went 32-16. Since then JW has gone 21 - 23 and looked fairly shoddy doing it. If Scioscia believes Washburn can once again be an 18-6 pitcher with an ERA south of 4 then he should keep him. But if they were willing (as rumor had it) to give Washburn his outright release if they signed Matt Clement, then it does not sound like anyone is particularly high on him.

Shields - Absolutely key player if the Angels hope to repeat in the AL West. In his three years with the Angels Shields has compiled an 18-11 record with a sparkling 2.81 ERA and strikes out 2.43 batters for everyone he walks. But it is Shields versatility that makes him exceptionally valuable to the Halos. Shields can work in a set-up role, pitch long relief, short relief, close and give you an occassional spot start.

Molina (Jose) - Quality backup catcher who became Bartolo Colon's personal pitcher for awhile last season before brother Bengie made a point late in the season to catch him. Jose took advantage of his brother's injury woes last season, appearing in a career high 73 games while hitting .261 with 3 HR's, 25 rbi's and 4 stolen bases.

Molina is a quality backup backstop but how many catchers can this team carry? Until Jeff Mathis proves he has the mettle to compete in the big leagues the Angels have no choice but to keep both Molina brothers on the roster. If Jose could develop some plate dicipline he might evolve into an everyday catcher for the Angels or some other team.


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2:19 PM  

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