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Kennedy's New Deal: One Year, $2.27 Million

BASEBALL REPORT

January 15, 2003|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

Angel second baseman Adam Kennedy, who started last season with his job in jeopardy and ended the season as a hero, agreed Tuesday to a one-year contract worth $2.27 million.

Kennedy, the most valuable player of the American League championship series, hit three home runs in the victory that clinched the Angels' first World Series berth. He became the fifth player to hit three homers in a postseason game, a list that includes Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson.

Kennedy, 27, hit seven home runs during the regular season. He led the Angels with a .312 batting average, tops among AL second basemen.

He was paid $375,000 last year, when the Angels controlled his salary. He would have been eligible for salary arbitration this year and could have pursued a long-term contract, although he cannot file for free agency until after the 2005 season.

The Angels did not offer a long-term contract, agent Paul Cohen said. Kennedy did not ask for one, not wanting to lock himself into a 2004 salary at a time his value could continue to rise.

"He was certainly treated very fairly by the Angels," Cohen said. "He's just beginning to establish himself as one of the premier second basemen in the game, and we felt the timing would be better a year from now."

First baseman Scott Spiezio and pitchers Jarrod Washburn and Scott Schoeneweis remain eligible for arbitration. In the absence of contract agreements, the Angels will exchange proposed salaries later this week.

Scott Boras, the agent for Washburn and Schoeneweis, said he expects both pitchers to sign one-year contracts. Washburn rejected a long-term offer last year. The Angels have not offered a long-term deal to either pitcher, Boras said, and neither has sought one. The pitchers are not eligible for free agency until after the 2005 season.

Spiezio, who can file for free agency this fall, said he hopes to secure a long-term contract. Spiezio's agent, Barry Meister, said last week he had submitted a multiyear proposal at the Angels' invitation, but the team had yet to respond. Meister did not return calls Tuesday.

"I would love to have a multiyear deal," said Spiezio, whose home run keyed the Angels' historic comeback in Game 6 of the World Series. "Being a part of that was incredible. The fans were awesome. I would love to be locked in, but I just don't know if that's possible."

Spiezio will leave baseball backstage tonight, when he and his band Sandfrog headline a concert at the Grove of Anaheim. Spiezio, the lead singer, describes the Sandfrog sound as "heavy and loud."

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Former Florida Marlin outfielder Kevin Millar rejected a waiver claim by the Boston Red Sox and will go through with plans to play in Japan this year. ... Former New York Yankee outfielder Shane Spencer, who batted .247 in 94 games last season, agreed to a one-year contract with the Cleveland Indians. ... The Montreal Expos re-signed pitcher Tony Armas Jr. to a one-year contract, avoiding salary arbitration. Armas was 12-12 with a 4.44 earned-run average in 29 starts for the Expos last season. ... Right-hander Todd Ritchie agreed to a one-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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