ANAHEIM -- By agreeing to contract extensions with only months left before becoming free agents, Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick and shortstop Erick Aybar basically left money on the table.
Kendrick, who agreed to a four-year, $33.5 million deal in January, would've been one of few good second-base options available now that the Rangers' Ian Kinsler and the Reds' Brandon Phillips have also been locked up by their respective clubs.
Aybar, whose four-year deal that is believed to be worth $35 million was finalized on Wednesday, would've been the best shortstop option in a market where the Mets and Red Sox could be major players.
But free agency, Kendrick will tell you, is overrated.
"It's not always about money, man," he said. "It's about playing this game, doing what you love and being happy with that. Money's one thing. You're going to make a lot of money playing this game in general. Just because you wait it out until free agency -- not every player wants to do that.
"I think there's a lot of security in what we did get in our contract. It's just something that we feel comfortable in. We grew up here. If that means we took less money, then hey -- I don't think we got cheated. We knew what was out there and we knew what we possibly could've gotten, or if we missed out on something. But I don't feel like I missed out on anything, and I'm pretty sure Erick feels the same way. If he didn't, I don't think he would've signed that extension."
Aybar's deal, unlike Kendrick's, kicks in next year, keeping him in the books through the 2016 season -- and making him Kendrick's up-the-middle partner through at least 2015.
His reported average annual value of $8.75 million would rank only 10th all-time among shortstops, trailing Derek Jeter (twice), Jose Reyes, Troy Tulowitzki, Miguel Tejada, Hanley Ramirez, Rafael Furcal, Edgar Renteria and Julio Lugo.
His teammate sees it another way.
"It's huge," said Kendrick, who joined the Angels organization in 2002, the same year as Aybar. "He'll have more security. It's something that's going to be good for us as a team. I feel comfortable with him out there and I'm comfortable with him."