Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick says he's pleased to be continuing… (Christine Cotter / Associated…)
Howie Kendrick said he was aware of what effect an big season could make on his value as a free agent before 2013, but remaining an Angel trumped taking on the speculative venture.
"It's special to be around this organization where I grew up, to stay home," Kendrick said Tuesday in a news conference at an Anaheim restaurant to announce the four-year, $33.5-million contract extension he signed with the team. "I can't explain how happy I am to stay in Anaheim."
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, January 12, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction
Angels baseball: An article in the Jan. 11 Sports section about Howie Kendrick's contract extension with the Angels said the team was also believed to be negotiating to extend the contract of shortstop Willie Aybar. The shortstop's first name is Erick.
Kendrick said the Angels' off-season acquisitions of free-agent slugger Albert Pujols, starting pitcher C.J. Wilson, reliever LaTroy Hawkins and catcher Chris Iannetta solidified his desire to stay.
That appears to be the case for an extended period, given the Angels also have locked-in deals with ace right-hander Jered Weaver and outfielder Torii Hunter. New General Manager Jerry Dipoto has committed about $135 million to 15 players under contract. Dipoto is also believed to be in negotiations to extend shortstop Willie Aybar's contract.
"I feel secure with who we are as a team, and with those additions we'll be a lot more competitive," he said. "Jerry came in and, bam, hit us right between the eyes with a bunch of additions. It's now just about playing games and working together."
In Kendrick, 28, the Angels retain an All-Star whose .285 batting average ranked behind only Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox, Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees and Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds among second basemen. Kendrick scored 86 runs in 2011 with 30 doubles, 18 home runs and 63 runs batted in.
His .992 fielding percentage led all American League second basemen.
"We've got a player here who's been nothing but successful and part of the Angels family," Dipoto said. "He has consistently improved [and is] part of what we believe will be a championship-level lineup."
Kendrick said one of the reasons he re-signed with the Angels was his new partner on the right side of the infield, Pujols.
"It'll be excited to see those puzzle pieces come together" in spring training, Kendrick said. Pujols "will feel welcome. I'm interested in learning from him."