Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Angels Sign K-Rod & Shields to One-Year Pacts

The Angels came to terms with closer Frankie Rodriguez and set-up man Scot Shields on Tuesday with contracts worth $3.78 million and $2.1 million respectively. The pitching tandem of Shields and Rodriguez are integral to the Halo bullpen and the signing of these two players puts to rest, at least for one year, the question of whether the team would keep one of the best bullpens in baseball intact.

Rodriguez converted 45 saves last season in his first year as the Angels' closer including his last 18 in a row. While K-Rod hit some rough patches that led to a 2-5 record, he overall had an excellent season with a 2.45 ERA. The new contract represents a significant upgrade over his 2005 salary of $440,000.

Shields is the most versatile pitcher in the major leagues who is able to pitch short relief, long relief, close, set-up and provide an occasional spot start. Shields was used primarily as a set-up man to Rodriguez in 2005 and likely will resume that duty in 2006. Shields will more than double his 2005 salary of $900,000 with the new deal. Along with fellow set-up man Brendan Donnelly, Shields and Rodriguez form a trio of pitchers that effectively bridge the gap between the 7th and 9th innings for manager Mike Scioscia and the Angel starters.

Donnelly now remains the only arbitration-eligible player and he is reportedly seeking a deal worth $1.1 million. The Angels have countered with an offer at $900,000 and it seems likely the two sides will work out a compromise prior to their scheduled arbitration hearing next month. With newcomer JC Romero now added to the mix as their designated left-handed assassin and fill-in set-up man, the Halo bullpen will be loaded and ready for 2006 once Donnelly is signed.

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