ANAHEIM, California — The Los Angeles Angels avoided salary arbitration Friday with outfielder Collin Cowgill, new catcher Drew Butera and relievers Cesar Ramos and Fernando Salas.
The Angels hadn't reached agreements yet with third baseman David Freese, outfielder Matt Joyce and right-hander Garrett Richards, their three most expensive arbitration-eligible players.
The Angels will pay Ramos $3.55 million after acquiring him in a trade with Tampa Bay last November. He made $749,750 last season when he went 2-6 with a 3.70 ERA in 43 appearances for the Rays.
Cowgill got a $995,000 deal, a raise from $506,000 last year. He batted .250 with five homers and 21 RBIs as the Angels' fourth outfielder.
Butera will get $987,500 this season after making $800,000 last year with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The five-year veteran batted .188 last season but is expected to be the Angels' backup catcher.
Salas will make $1.37 million this season, up from $870,000. He earned a regular role in middle relief in his first season with the Angels, striking out 9.4 batters per nine innings and posting a 3.38 ERA.
The Angels finished with the majors' best regular-season record last year, winning 98 games. They haven't gone to an arbitration hearing since 2011, and they intend to keep negotiating with Freese, Joyce and Richards.
Freese asked for $7.6 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility after making $5.05 million last year, and the Angels countered at $5.25 million. He batted .260 with 10 homers and 55 RBIs in his first season with Los Angeles.
The Angels acquired Joyce from Tampa Bay after he batted .254 with nine homers and 52 RBIs. Joyce asked for $5.2 million after making $3.7 million last year, and the Angels offered $4.2 million.
Richards is the toughest case for the Angels after he went 13-4 with 164 strikeouts in his breakout season, but required knee surgery after a season-ending injury on Aug. 20.
Richards asked for $3.8 million after making $520,000 last year. The Angels countered with a $2.4 million offer.
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