Found January 10, 2012 on Fox Sports West:
92
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Howie Kendrick didn't give up his first three years of free-agent eligibility just to play next to Albert Pujols in the Los Angeles Angels' infield. The All-Star second baseman was determined to stick with the only team that has ever employed him no matter who might be over at first base. "We've gotten better, and I wanted to be a part of it," Kendrick said Tuesday after the formal announcement of his new four-year, 33.5 million deal with the Angels. "But even more than that, I've been in this organization so long, it feels like a home. It's definitely special to stay home. ... The fan base, the city, the weather, it's all great. There's other teams that win, too, but we win in 70 degree weather." While the big-money signings of Pujols and left-hander C.J. Wilson commanded all the attention in general manager Jerry Dipoto's first two months on the job, the Angels also have essentially kept intact the core of last season's team, which missed the playoffs despite finishing with Los Angeles' eighth winning record in the past decade. The Angels have stayed among baseball's most consistent winners during manager Mike Scioscia's reign, and Kendrick realizes that's a rarity. "We won a lot last year, too," Kendrick said of the Angels, who went 86-76 last season, but finished 10 games behind two-time AL champion Texas in the division standings. "We didn't get enough wins, but with the additions we made, we're going to be a team to be reckoned with. There's a lot to be said for free agency, but I've been a part of this organization since 2002, and it means a lot to me." Dipoto still must make deals with Gold Glove shortstop Erick Aybar, third baseman Alberto Callaspo and long-injured first baseman Kendrys Morales, who are all eligible for arbitration. But the Angels are largely prepared for spring training next month in Tempe, Ariz., where they hope to begin building toward a World Series run. Dipoto didn't hesitate to make a long-term commitment to Kendrick, emphasizing the importance of sticking with a homegrown player who bounced back from a midseason demotion to the minors in 2009 with two strong seasons. "We've got a player here who has been nothing but successful in the organization," Dipoto said. "We're building a bridge toward what we hope will be a successful career. We believe he's a strong piece of our foundation moving forward." While Dipoto says it's "unlikely you're going to see any more significant additions" to the Angels, he's still snooping around for bullpen help. Although Pujols' signing will force the Angels to find new positions for two fairly accomplished first basemen, injuries have prevented Mark Trumbo and Morales from doing much in the offseason. Dipoto isn't particularly concerned about the injury rehabilitation of Trumbo, who led the Angels in homers and RBIs as a rookie last season. A stress fracture in Trumbo's right foot has prevented him from participating in any baseball activities since he missed the final three games of the regular season, hindering his chances of possibly moving to third base this season. "Mark is going to come to spring training with the rest of the group, and we'll deal with it from there," Dipoto said. Dipoto also confirmed the Angels still have no timetable for the return of Morales, who hasn't played since breaking his left ankle while jumping on home plate to celebrate a game-ending grand slam in late May 2010. The Cuban slugger, who appeared headed for stardom before his injury, is expected to resume baseball activities soon. With Pujols entrenched at first base, Trumbo, Morales, Bobby Abreu and others all might end up splitting time as the Angels' designated hitter. Although the Angels could relieve that glut with a trade, Dipoto thinks it's not a bad problem to have -- particularly since Trumbo and Morales are both fairly inexpensive for their abilities. "Depending on how quickly things happen ... we could find ourselves with an upside that is very significant at those positions," Dipoto said. Although Kendrick wanted to stay in Anaheim even before Pujols arrived, he was just as excited as his teammates to see the Angels' aggressive deal to land the three-time NL MVP. Kendrick believes the Angels' long-standing chemistry will only be improved by the respected Dominican slugger. "I think he'll feel welcome when he comes into that locker room," Kendrick said. "I don't think there will be a problem with him fitting in. What I've heard and what I've seen, I like him. I'm interested in learning from a guy with that much talent. I'm interested in getting in and seeing how he works in the batting cage."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Halo Headlines: Details of Kendrick's Contract Extension, Angels Likely Done Shopping, Morales Running Under His Own Power

The January 11th, 2012 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim including details of Kendrick's contract released, Angels likely done shopping, Morales...

Will Pujols Get Way Less Coverage in 2012?

Sometimes I have to travel for work. Because I live in St. Louis and it's called 'The Gateway to the West' by people who like calling cities by nicknames, most of the travel I do is out west. After a nice dinner with some co-workers I called my mom when I was walking home. I noticed it was a little after 7 and was hoping that the Blues game against Montreal would be...

Angels keep Kendrick for 4 years, $33.5M (AP)

Howie Kendrick didn't give up his first three years of free-agent eligibility just to play next to Albert Pujols in the Los Angeles Angels' infield. The All-Star second baseman was determined to stick with the only team that has ever employed him no matter who might be over at first base. "We've gotten better, and I wanted to be a part of it," Kendrick said...

Pujols Pours On The Perks

You see, Dodgers, it doesn't take much to sign a once-in-a-lifetime offensive power. Just a lot of cash, and then some creative extras here and there (and there, and over there too): NEW YORK -- Guess $240 million wasn't quite enough for Albert Pujols. In addition to his salary, the Los Angeles Angels are giving the slugger four season tickets to home games over the next...

Halo Headlines: Salmon Gets Only Five Hall of Fame Votes, Angels Interested in Brad Lidge, Assessing Kendrick's Extension

The January 10th, 2012 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim including Salmon gets just five Hall of Fame votes, Angels showing interest in Brad Lidge...

Bullpen Banter: Recent Transactions

This week, Eugene and Russ look at the top 5 Transactions of the off-season so far. The first one was easy; could they agree on the rest? Russ: Obviously, number 1 is the signing of Albert Pujols. There can be no bigger transaction than the best player in baseball changing teams. This move helped the Cardinals sign Carlos Beltran. One transaction causes another is always a good...
Angels News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.