The Associated Press reported today that Cincinnati agreed to terms with righty reliever Jared Burton on a one year contract that will pay him $750,000 in 2011.
Though he barely played in the big leagues in 2010, Burton was still eligible for salary arbitration for the second time in his young career. But solid numbers in Louisville do not translate into favorable rulings from an arbiter. With minimal leverage, Burton accepted the Reds offer of a one year, $750,000 which represents a pay cut of 7.4% from his 2010 salary of $810,000.
Burton was optioned to Louisville on April 2nd of last year, and there he remained, putting up solid numbers of the course of the season, but nothing that merited a call up to the big leagues until rosters expanded in September. His final numbers in Louisville were 3-2 with a 2.61 ERA in 38 relief innings. He also locked down four saves.
Pay decreases are relatively rare in arbitration. Teams will typically non-tender players at the commencement of the arbitration process with the goal of signing them to a minor-league contract or at a decreased salary from the previous year. Non-tendering a player allows him to become a free agent, and thus exposes him to the entreaties of the other 29 clubs. Cincinnati elected to take no chances by tendering Burton a contract, despite his brief tenure with the club in 2010.
The Reds still need to work out deals with Joey Votto, the reigning NL MVP, Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez and Bill Bray. If no agreement can be reached, the players and club will exchange figures on January 15th and will then have until early February to settle or face the arbitration panels.
Joe Tetreault is Managing Editor 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 can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball
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