The Orioles faced a tall order entering the arbitration season, with six players eligible. They covered the first two-thirds of their task by signing J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Felix Pie, and Jim Johnson. We reported on Jones earlier, so we'll leave him out of this discussion.
Hardy came over earlier this offseason from the Twins. The Orioles were able to get him for next season for $5.85 million. That's a bit of a bargain for third year arbitration eligible player who made $5.1 million last year. But the contract the Padres gave Jason Bartlett is illustrative. Hardy's fellow third year arbitration eligible shortstop signed for a longer duration, but did not get a raise from his 2010 salary. Middle infielders with middling bats are not getting big contracts.
Pie more than doubled his 2010 salary, jumping from a per-arbitration eligible $420,000 to $985,000 in 2011. He remains a young bundle of potential. He turns 26 next month, and has yet to convert his tools to major league production. Last year he added injury to inconsistency for a stew of mediocrity. His batting line stood at .274/.305/.413 in 308 plate appearances at season's end. He's useful off the bench and has been paid accordingly.
Johnson's deal was on the Baltimore Sun last night. He made $440,000 in 2010 and gets a 121.6% raise for 2011. His new deal will pay him $975,000. He struggled with injuries in 2010, but still put up solid numbers in a limited duty for the Orioles. He's among the candidates who could be called on to close this season.
The pair still unsigned are Luke Scott and Jeremy Guthrie. It's Scott's third year of arbitration. Guthrie's second. Dan Connolly tweeted the exchanged figures. Scott is looking for $6.85 million, with the Orioles preferring to limit his 2011 salary to $5.7 million. Guthrie wants $6.5 million, with the Orioles countering with $5 million. Based on our study of Wandy Rodriguez's case in his second year of arbitration eligibility, Guthrie may be poised for disappointment, as Rodriguez had slightly better numbers in 2009 when he lost his hearing and got $5 million.
Click here for the Orioles press release announcing their arbitration signings.
ORIOLES AGREE TO TERMS WITH SS J.J. Hardy,
OF’s Adam Jones AND Felix Pie AND RHP Jim Johnson
Team Exchanges Salary Arbitration Figures with RHP Jeremy Guthrie and DH Luke Scott
The Orioles today announced that they have agreed to terms with SS J.J. Hardy, OF’s Adam Jones and Felix Pie and RHP Jim Johnson on one-year contracts, avoiding arbitration.
Hardy, 28, batted .268 (91-340) with 6 home runs and 28 RBI in 101 games with the Minnesota Twins in 2010. He hit 26 home runs and was a National League All-Star in 2007 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Jones, 25, batted .284 (165-581) with 19 home runs and 69 RBI in 149 games with the Orioles in 2010, his third season with the team. He won a Gold Glove and was an American League All-Star in 2009.
Pie, 25, batted .274 (79-288) with 5 home runs and 31 RBI in 82 games for the Orioles in 2010, setting career-highs in average, hits, runs, doubles, triples and RBI.
Johnson, 27, went 1-1 with a 3.42 ERA (26.1IP, 10ER) in 26 appearances in 2010. He has pitched to a 3.22 ERA (165.0IP, 59ER) in 144 games for the Orioles in the last three seasons.
The Orioles have exchanged salary arbitration figures with RHP Jeremy Guthrie and DH Luke Scott.
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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