TEMPE, Ariz. -- A stout season paid off for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Brian Goodwin.
He learned Wednesday that he won his arbitration case. He will earn $2.2 million, a raise of $1.6 million over his 2019 salary.
Goodwin spent last season proving himself worthy of a raise. He appeared in 136 games, hit .262 with a .796 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and belted a career-high 17 home runs. He also collected 29 doubles and 47 RBIs.
It was the first time he played in more than 80 games at the major league level. In most cases, injuries had not permitted him to take the field.
An injury actually opened the door for Goodwin last year. Justin Upton's severe toe sprain at the end of spring training sent the Angels scrambling for a replacement. Goodwin, a former first-round pick who spent most of the first eight years of his professional career with the Washington Nationals, had just been placed on waivers by the rebuilding Kansas City Royals.
Goodwin, 29, played in 64 of the Angels' first 72 games. He showed solid defense while gradually improving his reads and throws. A left-handed hitter known more for plate discipline than power, Goodwin didn't have Upton's slugging credentials. But Goodwin hit to all fields, an approach that hardly wavered based on the opponent.
"There has been a trend in my career that when I play, I play well," Goodwin said. "I put up numbers. There's nothing (anybody) really can say to argue that. We did what we were supposed to do when the opportunity presented itself. That's why I was still there at the end of the year. A lot of people said a lot of good stuff about me, the front office, players and teammates from the day I stepped in the locker room, stepped on the field."
The Angels, who offered Goodwin $1.85 million, had to argue that the player who will likely break camp as their starting right fielder wasn't worth $2.2 million. Rather than put themselves directly in what can often be an ugly process, they hired third-party lawyers to make their case. Only a few team officials attended the hearing, which took place at a Phoenix area hotel.
The Angels had not taken a player to an arbitration hearing since 2011, when former ace Jered Weaver lost. The team managed to settle all player salaries until Goodwin, eligible for arbitration for the first time, refused to budge on his case.
"I don't think you want to go through it," Goodwin said. "A lot of people do a lot of things to avoid it, if they can. Like I said, it's not a pretty process by any means, but I think it's necessary for players to have a voice and to be able to stand up for themselves, what they believe in and their value."