Hart, Gagne agree to deals with Milwaukee

Updated: February 17, 2009, 8:59 PM ET
Associated Press

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Brewers reached a $3.25 million, one-year deal with right fielder Corey Hart and added reliever Eric Gagne with a minor league contract Tuesday.

Hart's deal was the midpoint between the $3.8 million he requested in arbitration and the $2.7 million the club had offered.

The 26-year-old Hart made his first All-Star team last season but slumped badly down the stretch. He hit .268 with 20 homers and 91 RBIs while making $444,000.

By reaching an agreement, the sides avoided a hearing later this week.

Gagne would receive $1.5 million if he's added to the major league roster and can earn additional $3 million in performance bonuses: $2 million based on games from 25-60 and $1 million based on games finished from 50-65.

His deal included an invitation to the major league camp.

Gagne had a $10 million, one-year contract with the Brewers last season. He started out as the closer, blew six save chances and wound up on the disabled list.

When the 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner returned, he primarily pitched the eighth inning with Salomon Torres working the ninth. Gagne finished 4-3 with a 5.44 ERA and 10 saves in 50 appearances.

The Brewers did not offer salary arbitration to Gagne and allowed him to become a free agent. Torres retired to spend more time with his family.

Milwaukee went on to sign career saves leader Trevor Hoffman in the offseason and also added Jorge Julio to the bullpen.

Milwaukee previously avoided arbitration with right-hander Dave Bush, shortstop J.J. Hardy, right-hander Seth McClung, second baseman Rickie Weeks and first baseman Prince Fielder.

Fielder was the lone multiyear deal, agreeing to an $18 million, two-year contract.

Doug Melvin has never had a case reach an arbitration hearing since taking over as Milwaukee's general manager in 2002.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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