Blue Jays settle with Johnson, Rios, Downs

Updated: February 2, 2007, 8:47 PM ET
Associated Press

TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays settled their three remaining salary arbitration cases Friday, agreeing to one-year contracts with left fielder Reed Johnson, right fielder Alex Rios and pitcher Scott Downs.

Johnson gets $3,075,000, Rios $2,535,000 and Downs $1,025,000.

Toronto hasn't gone to a hearing since J.P. Ricciardi became general manager in 2001.

"We're happy to have it behind us," Ricciardi said. "It's not that we don't want to go, but if you can avoid it you avoid it."

Johnson, who hit .319 last year with 12 homers and 49 RBIs, can make an additional $225,000 in performance bonuses: $37,500 each for 575, 600, 615, 625, 635 and 645 plate appearances. After earning $1,425,000 last year, he had asked for $3.6 million and had been offered $2.5 million.

Rios was a first-time All-Star last year, hitting .302 with 17 homers and 82 RBIs. He missed more than 30 games because of a staph infection in his leg.

A number of teams expressed interest in trading for Rios this offseason after general manager J.P. Ricciardi sought to acquire a starting pitcher after failing to sign Ted Lilly and Gil Meche.

Ricciardi ended up rounding out the rotation with free agent starters Toma Ohka, John Thomson and Victor Zambrano.

Rios was eligible for arbitration for the first time after making $354,000 last year. He had asked for $3.1 million and had been offered $2 million.

Downs went 6-2 with a 4.09 ERA in 59 games last year, earning $705,000. He had asked for $1.2 million and had been offered $925,000.

In addition to his base salary, he could earn $25,000 in performance bonuses: $10,000 for 70 games and $15,000 for 75 games.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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