Halos lock up Howie Kendrick with 4-year, $33.5M extension

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Anaheim’s spending spree continues.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Angels have agreed to a four-year contract extension with second baseman Howie Kendrick. The deal will cover his final year of arbitration-eligibility and his first three years of free agency.

Kendrick posted career-bests across the board in 2011, batting .285/.338/.464 with 18 home runs, 63 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 583 plate appearances. He’s also become an elite defender at second base, with some of the best range in the bigs.

Financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. Kendrick made $3.3 million last year.

UPDATE, 9:39 PM: Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register has confirmed Rosenthal’s report, and says the money involved is “to be announced.” Look for details to be leaked within the next few days.

UPDATE, 10:25 PM: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says the extension is worth $33.5 million.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”