Angels first baseman Kendrys Morales hits a two-run home run in the first… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)
The Angels are not ready to give up on Kendrys Morales.
Though the first baseman's future is clouded by injury, the signing of slugging first baseman Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $254-million deal and a breakout rookie year by first baseman Mark Trumbo, the Angels tendered Morales a 2012 contract Monday.
The Angels also tendered contracts to second baseman Howie Kendrick, shortstop Erick Aybar and third baseman Alberto Callaspo before the 9 p.m. deadline Monday, assuring the three arbitration-eligible infielders will return in 2012.
The team avoided arbitration with pitcher Jerome Williams, agreeing to terms with the right-hander on a one-year, $820,000 deal. Williams, who went 4-0 with a 3.68 earned-run average in 10 games last season, will compete for the fifth rotation spot.
The Morales offer means the Angels will commit about $3 million to the switch-hitter in 2012, even though he missed the last 1 1/2 seasons because of a broken left ankle, suffered when he jumped into home plate in celebration of a walk-off home run on May 29, 2010.
Morales is rehabilitating in Arizona, where he has progressed to batting practice and jogging on a "de-weighted" treadmill.
If he can come close to regaining his 2009 form, when he hit .306 with 34 homers and 108 runs batted in, Morales could provide considerable protection to Pujols as a designated hitter and power from the left side in a predominantly right-handed lineup.
The Angels also announced that since agreeing to terms with Pujols and pitcher C.J. Wilson on Thursday, the team store has sold more than 2,000 units of Pujols and Wilson merchandise, passing the total revenues for the entire month of December, 2010.
Brewers land Ramirez
The Milwaukee Brewers agreed to terms with free-agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez, agent Paul Kinzer told the Associated Press.
Ramirez will provide a much-needed big bat for the Brewers, who are expected to lose first baseman Prince Fielder through free agency and may be without National League most valuable player Ryan Braun for the first 50 games of next season if he loses his appeal for testing positive for a banned substance.
The 33-year-old Ramirez played 149 games for the Chicago Cubs last year, batting .306 with 26 home runs and 93 RBIs. Ramirez played the last eight-plus seasons with the Cubs after he was traded by Pittsburgh to Chicago in the middle of the 2003 season.
The Brewers also finalized their deal with free-agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez, a one-year contract with a vesting option for 2013.
The St. Louis Cardinals and shortstop Rafael Furcal agreed to a $14-million, two-year contract, keeping the switch-hitter with the World Series champions after they picked him up from the Dodgers at the July trade deadline. … The Philadelphia Phillies traded outfielder Ben Francisco to the Toronto Blue Jays for minor league left-hander Frank Gailey. … Veteran Aaron Rowand signed a minor league contract with the Miami Marlins and will contend for a job as a backup outfielder. The 34-year-old Rowand hit .233 with four homers in 108 games for San Francisco last season. … The New York Mets' owners recently got a $40-million loan to help with cash flow, a year after getting a $25-million loan from Major League Baseball. The recent loan came in the last six weeks from a major bank and was first reported by the New York Times on Monday. The Mets have been plagued by the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme and General Manager Sandy Alderson has said the team lost $70 million.