The Chicago White Sox have agreed to terms on a one-year, $5.6-million contract with right-handed pitcher Bobby Jenks, avoiding arbitration.
His signing is a record deal for a first-time eligible closer according to Jayson Stark of ESPN. Jenks has 3.090 of MLB service time.
Jenks, 27, went 3-1 with a 2.63 ERA (18 ER/61.2 IP), 30 saves and 38 strikeouts in 57 relief outings with the White Sox in 2008.Â He ranked sixth in the American League in save percentage (88.2, 30-34) and eighth in saves while becoming the first pitcher in Sox history to record 30 or more saves in three consecutive seasons.
The 6-foot-3, 275-pounder has gone 10-11 with a 3.09 ERA (81 ER/235.2 IP), 117 saves and 224 strikeouts in 222 relief appearances over four major-league seasons, all with the White Sox.Â He has converted 87.9 percent (117-133) of his career save opportunities, fifth-best in the AL during that span among pitchers with at least 100 chances.
Jenks, who ranks third in franchise history with 117 saves, recorded his 100th career save on May 26, 2008 at Cleveland, becoming the second-fastest pitcher in major-league history to reach that milestone, behind only Seattleâ€™s Kazuhiro Sasaki.
Originally was claimed off waivers from the Angels on December 17, 2004, Jenks is a two-time AL All-Star and saved the final game of the 2005 World Series, becoming the first rookie to accomplish that feat since Larry Sherry of the Dodgers in 1959.
Jenks was the White Sox last remaining arbitration eligible player.
Players and clubs exchange salary figures tomorrow.
Of the 111 players that filed for salary arbitration, 14 players have signed or reach agreement as of 4pm ET, thus avoiding salary arbitration. Based on these agreements, the average salary for 2009 is now just over $3 million ($3,172,679). Of the 14 players reaching agreement, three are multi-year agreements (Kevin Youkilis, 4-years â€“ Cole Hamels, 3 years â€“ Greg Dobbs, 2 years).
See Salary Arbitration Tracker for updated details
MORE ON SALARY ARBITRATION
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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