Halos opt to let Frandsen become free agent

Halos opt to let Frandsen become free agent

ANAHEIM -- The Angels announced before Thursday's 9 p.m. PT deadline that they were not tendering a contract to infielder Kevin Frandsen, making him a free agent.

The club has eight other arbitration-eligible players -- Jered Weaver, Kendry Morales, Mike Napoli, Howard Kendrick, Erick Aybar, Alberto Callaspo, Jeff Mathis and Reggie Willits.

According to the Basic Agreement, when teams tender contracts, they can't cut any more than 20 percent of what a player earned in salary and performance bonuses the previous season, or 30 percent of those figures during the past two seasons. Non-tendered players, however, can be re-signed by their teams at larger cuts.

Frandsen earned $400,000 in 2010. The former Giants second baseman was claimed by the Angels on April 29 after Boston waived him and gave the Angels a huge lift when he was summoned from Triple-A Salt Lake in May. He was hitting .288 when he was optioned to Salt Lake on July 30, the victim of a numbers crunch.

"I'm very, very lucky to have the opportunity to have gotten picked up by this organization, that's the main thing," Frandsen said. "In the big picture, I'm happy with where I'm at as far as my health and my ability to play at a high level.

"After the injury I had [torn Achilles in 2008], everyone was skeptical. I showed I can run again. I played a lot of positions -- even left field one day. I want to play this game a long time -- at the Major League level, not the Minor League level."

Frandsen batted .340 in May and June with a career-high eight-game hitting streak.

"Kevin showed us a lot," Scioscia said. "He showed us he's a Major League player."

As valuable as he was in 2010, emerging to produce hits in flurries and quality defense at both corners, Frandsen was buried on the depth chart. As a free agent, he will try to work something out with a team that isn't three-deep in quality talent across the infield.

Weaver, fifth in the 2010 American League Cy Young Award balloting, is certain to draw a significant raise from his $4.27 million. Based on similar arbitration cases in the past, the ace could double his salary.

Also due a major bump, despite missing two-thirds of the season with leg surgery, is Morales. The first baseman could triple the $1.2 million he earned in 2010 after finishing fifth in the '09 AL Most Valuable Player race.

Napoli, who expanded his game with some quality play at first base in Morales' absence, drew $3.6 million in 2010 and could move up into the $6 million neighborhood after producing impressive power numbers.

Napoli is considered a prime trade chip with Morales returning and the club deep at catcher.

Mathis' 2010 season was fractured by a broken right wrist on April 19. When he returned, he never found his rhythm or timing at the plate. Mathis has not hit consistently at the Major League level but has had superior defensive numbers -- and plays for a manager, Scioscia, who attaches high value to a catcher's work behind the plate. Mathis figures to remain at $1.3 million, the salary he won in arbitration last year.

Infielders Kendrick, Aybar and Callaspo are due for varying raises. Kendrick could double the $1.75 million he made in 2010, while Callaspo is due a sizable bump from his $460,000. Aybar took down $2.05 million and figures to reach about $2.5 million.

Willits, valued for his versatility and defense, likely will get a nominal raise from the $625,000 he commanded last season.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.