Former Angels relief pitcher Keynan Middleton found a new home, signing a one-year major league contract with the Mariners on Wednesday. Middleton will earn a base salary of $800,000 plus incentives in 2021, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
That’s what Middleton’s base salary was with the Angels in 2020, for a full season at least. The right-hander would have been eligible for salary arbitration this winter but was non-tendered by the Angels on Dec. 2, making him a free agent.
Middleton was drafted by the Angels in the third round in 2013 out of Lane Community College in Oregon. Returning to the Pacific Northwest was a lure for Middleton, as was reuniting with the general manager that drafted him in Jerry Dipoto.
Middleton admitted his first love was always basketball and was surprised when he was drafted so high by the Angels at LCC.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) December 16, 2020
"Back when Jerry drafted me, I honestly didn't see what he saw (in me). I trust Jerry 100 percent because it ended up working out for me."
Middleton had a 5.25 ERA and 5.02 FIP in 13 relief appearances for the Angels in 2020, with 11 strikeouts and six walks in 12 innings. In his four major league seasons with the Angels, Middleton had a 3.48 ERA, a 125 ERA+ in 95⅔ innings, with 96 strikeouts and 40 walks.
More from general manager Perry Minasian on new Angels reliever Alex Claudio, who signed a one-year deal on Wednesday:
From Jeff Fletcher at the Orange County Reigster: “He is an intelligent guy. He can make adjustments on the mound. He can read swings. He has the ability to put the ball on the ground, which is important with our defense.”
From Rhett Bollinger at MLB.com: “Having a quality lefty is important, especially in our ballpark with a shorter right field ... He’s a guy who has a few things: durability, versatility in his role, can pitch multiple innings and defends himself against right-handed hitters.”