Players' average raise: 109 percent

Updated: February 20, 2006, 6:07 PM ET
Associated Press

The 100 players in salary arbitration will average $2.66 million this year, and Florida's Dontrelle Willis will get the highest percentage increase, an 11-fold raise to $4.35 million.

The average raise for the players in arbitration was 109 percent, according to a study by The Associated Press, down from 123 percent last year and the lowest percentage rise since a 92 percent hike in 2003.

It was the second straight year the average salary in arbitration dropped, with last year's average of $2.8 million down from a record $3.26 million in 2004.

Just six players went to hearings, double last year's total. Owners defeated players 4-2, management's 10th straight winning season, and lead players 269-200 overall since arbitration began in 1974.

Willis, one of the few veterans the Marlins didn't let loose, was eligible for arbitration for the first time and went from a $378,500 salary last year to $4.35 million this season.

Only one player in arbitration got a pay cut. Oakland pitcher Juan Cruz, who made $600,000 last year after losing his hearing, agreed to a $575,000 contract that allows him to earn an additional $50,000 in performance bonuses. He went 0-3 with a 7.44 ERA in 28 relief appearances and was sent to the minors from mid-June until September.

Fourteen players received multiyear contracts, down one from last year and well below the recent high of 27 in 2001. There were relatively few large deals, with Baltimore outfielder Jay Gibbons getting $21.1 million over four years, Cincinnati outfielder Adam Dunn receiving $18.5 million over two years and Texas first baseman Mark Teixeira agreeing to $15.4 million over two years.

Washington second baseman-outfielder Alfonso Soriano received the highest salary ever for a player who went to a hearing, even though he lost his case. Soriano will get $10 million instead of his request for $12 million.

Fifty-two players doubled their salaries, 33 tripled and 28 quadrupled.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press