Tigers won't have to go to arbitration; Taguchi signs

Tuesday was the deadline for players and teams to exchange proposed salaries for the arbitration process. Several players, however, avoided arbitration by agreeing to new deals before the deadline. Others have signed since. Here's the rundown:

Detroit Tigers: The Tigers avoided salary arbitration with all four of the players that filed, agreeing to one-year contracts Tuesday with outfielder Craig Monroe, left-hander Nate Robertson, right-handed reliever Fernando Rodney and infielder Omar Infante.

Monroe will make $4,775,000 this season after tying a franchise record with five homers in one postseason, helping the Tigers reach the World Series for the first time since 1984. During the regular season, he had a .255 batting average with 28 homers, 35 doubles and 92 RBIs, making $2.8 million. The 29-year-old left fielder had 12 assists, tied for second among American League outfielders.

Robertson gets $3.26 million, up from $402,5000 last year, when he was 13-13 in 32 starts. The 29-year-old starter set career highs in wins and with a 3.84 ERA and 208 2/3 innings. He is 33-42 with a 4.56 ERA since making his major-league debut in 2002 with Florida.

Rodney will make $1.05 million this season, nearly three times the $385,000 he made last year. The 29-year-old was 7-4 with seven saves in 63 appearances last season with the AL champions. He posted a 3.52 ERA and struck out 65 in 71 2/3 innings and ranked sixth among AL relievers with a .196 batting average against.

Infante gets $1.3 million, up from $3.85 million last year, when he hit .277 in 78 games with four home runs, 11 doubles and 25 RBIs. The 25-year-old played 37 games at second base, 10 at shortstop, seven at third base, four in center field and was also a designated hitter.

St. Louis Cardinals: Outfielder So Taguchi and the Cardinals avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year contract that will guarantee him $1,025,000.

The 37-year-old was a postseason star who helped the Cardinals win their first World Series in 24 years. He began the playoffs 4-for-4 as a pinch hitter, including a go-ahead home run off the Mets' Billy Wagner in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series.

He batted .266 in 134 regular-season games with two homers and 31 RBIs.

Taguchi's deal calls for a salary of $925,000 and the team has an option for 2008 at $1.1 million with a $100,000 buyout. His base salary for 2008 would increase by $100,000 each for 350 and 375 plate appearances next season and $150,000 each for 400 and 450 plate appearances.

The contract also includes $350,000 in annual performance bonuses.

St. Louis has also been negotiating with Preston Wilson, an August pickup last year.

Houston Astros: Brad Lidge signed a one-year, $5.34 million contract with Houston, avoiding arbitration following a rough year in which he temporarily lost his job as closer the season after helping lead the Astros to their first World Series.

Lidge was 1-5 with a 5.28 ERA and 32 saves, and his struggles led manager Phil Garner to adopt a closer-by-committee approach in mid-August. He blew a career-high six save chances, including four before the All-Star break.

He will get a raise of nearly $1.5 million.

"We are looking forward to a great 2007 season with him as our closer once again," general manager Tim Purpura said. "Brad is one of the leaders of our team, and we are expecting great results from him this season."

He was an NL All-Star in 2005, when he had a 2.29 ERA and 42 saves in 46 chances. He struck out 103 in 70 2/3 innings, allowing just 58 hits and 18 earned runs.

He saved Houston's first three victories in the NL Championship Series against St. Louis but surrendered a memorable home run to Albert Pujols when the Astros were a strike away from the World Series. Although Houston eliminated the Cardinals the next game, Lidge had a hard time recovering.

Lidge took the loss in the Series-clinching win for the White Sox, and his difficulties spilled into the 2006 season. He became the first reliever since Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne in 2002-04 to strike out more than 100 batters in three straight seasons (104 in 75 innings), but he allowed career highs in hits (69), runs (47) and home runs (10).

Pittsburgh Pirates: Left-handed closer Mike Gonzalez and outfielder Xavier Nady bypassed arbitration by agreeing to one-year contracts with the Pirates.

The Pirates have five remaining arbitration-eligible players, including NL batting champion Freddy Sanchez. He is discussing a one-year deal and has not been approached about a multiyear contract.

Mike Gonzalez Gonzalez

Also unsigned are outfielder Jody Gerut, who missed most of the last two seasons with knee injuries; right-hander Shawn Chacon; second baseman Jose Castillo; and left-handed reliever John Grabow.

Gonzalez was 3-4 with a 2.17 ERA and converted all 24 of his save opportunities last season before sitting out the final five weeks with a sore elbow.

Nady, acquired from the Mets in a July 31 trade for pitchers Oliver Perez and Roberto Hernandez, hit .300 with three homers and 23 RBIs in 55 games with Pittsburgh. He had a .264 average with 14 homers and 40 RBIs in 75 games with New York.

Colorado Rockies: Outfielder Matt Holliday agreed to a $4.4 million, one-year contract and pitcher Jeremy Affeldt accepted a $1.25 million, one-year deal. Pitcher Rodrigo Lopez, obtained from Baltimore on Friday, and outfielder Cory Sullivan also reached one-year agreements.

The 27-year-old Holliday hit .326 with 34 homers and 114 RBIs last year, his third season in the majors, all at Colorado. He made $500,000.

Affeldt, a 27-year-old left-hander acquired from the Royals in July, was a combined 8-8 with a 6.20 ERA in 54 games, including nine starts. He made $1 million last season.

Affeldt and Denny Bautista came to Colorado in a trade for reliever Scott Dohmann and minor-league first baseman Ryan Shealy.

Sullivan, 27, who batted .267 with two home runs and 30 RBIs with the Rockies last year. He'll earn $900,000 after earning $335,000 last year.

Lopez, 31, was 9-18 with a 5.90 ERA last season in 29 starts and seven relief appearances. His 18 losses were the most in the majors and matched the second-highest in Orioles history. He'll earn $4.32
million after earning $3.75 million last year.

Right-hander Josh Fogg asked for $4.25 million in arbitration and was offered $3 million. He made $1.05 million last year.

Texas Rangers: Akinori Otsuka, who had 32 saves after taking over as the closer last season, agreed to a $3 million, one-year deal with the Rangers.

Outfielder Brad Wilkerson ($4.35 million) and right-hander Rick Bauer ($730,000) also avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to one-year contracts. All three were set to exchange proposed arbitration figures with the Rangers on Tuesday.

Otsuka became the Texas closer after Francisco Cordero set a major-league record with five blown saves in April and was later
traded. Otsuka converted 32-of-36 save chances and was 2-4 with a 2.11 ERA in 63 games.

The Rangers expect this year to return Otsuka to the eighth-inning setup role they planned for the right-hander when they got him in a trade with San Diego last offseason. Texas last month signed closer Eric Gagne to a one-year, $6 million deal loaded with another $5 million in incentives. Gagne, the 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner, was limited by injuries the past two seasons.

Oakland Athletics: The A's agreed to one-year contracts with outfielder Milton Bradley, infielder Marco Scutaro and right-hander Kiko Calero, avoiding arbitration for all three regulars.

Milton Bradley Bradley

Bradley will make $4 million next season, and the deal includes a possible $400,000 in performance bonuses. He batted .276 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his first season with the A's while making $3.05 million in 2006 -- but finished three days shy of eligibility for free agency.

Scutaro, who will make $1.55 million next season, was another late-season hero for the A's while starting at second base, shortstop and third base while Oakland's regulars were sidelined with injuries. He also delivered several memorable hits in September and October. Scutaro batted .266 with five homers and 41 RBIs while setting career highs in several offensive categories and making $340,000.

Calero, who got a $1.6 million deal, led the A's with a career-high 70 appearances last season, going 3-2 with two saves, a career-high 67 strikeouts and a 3.41 ERA. He was the only member of Oakland's Opening Day bullpen who didn't miss time with an injury or move into the starting rotation while making $850,000 last year.

On Monday, Oakland and left-hander Joe Kennedy agreed to a one-year, $2.8 million deal.

Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers and outfielder Kevin Mench agreed to a $3.4 million, one-year contract, avoiding salary arbitration.

Mench, obtained in a multiplayer trade that sent Carlos Lee to the Rangers last July, hit .230 with one home run and 18 RBIs in 40 games for the Brewers last season, when his salary was $2.8 million.

Left-hander Chris Capuano and the Brewers agreed to a $3.25 million, one-year contract Wednesday to avoid arbitration.

With the deals, the Brewers have four remaining players in arbitration.

Catcher Johnny Estrada asked for $3.9 million and was offered $3 million; utility player Tony Graffanino asked for $3.7 million and was offered $2.8 million; utility player Bill Hall asked for $4,125,000 and was offered $3 million; and right-hander Claudio Vargas asked for $2.85 million and was offered $2.15 million.

Philadelphia Phillies: Center fielder Aaron Rowand avoided
arbitration with the Phillies by agreeing to a $4.35
million, one-year contract.

Aaron Rowand Rowand

"I never really worried about it because I knew I would be here
this year," Rowand said. "You never want to get into those
arbitration hearings because they can get really ugly."

Rowand came to Philadelphia in the trade that sent Jim Thome to
Chicago after the 2005 season. Rowand appeared in 109 games with 12
homers and 47 RBIs. He had two extended stays on the disabled list,
first with a broken nose and then a broken right ankle.

The Phillies' Geoff Geary, Chase Utley and Brett Myers are still

Tampa Bay Devil Rays: The Devil Rays agreed to
one-year deals with infielder Ty Wigginton and pitcher Seth McClung, leaving the team with one arbitration-eligible player.

Wigginton, who made $750,000 while batting .275 and leading the
Devil Rays with a career-high 24 homers and 79 RBIs, will earn $2.7

McClung, who finished last season in the bullpen after going
2-10 with a 6.81 ERA as a starter, received a pay raise from
$343,000 to $750,000. The right-hander was 4-2 with a 4.43 ERA and
six saves as a reliever and likely will be a candidate for the
closer's job in spring training.

The deals left backup catcher Josh Paul as Tampa Bay's only
arbitration-eligible player without a contract. He hit .260 with
one homer and eight RBIs in 58 games while making $475,000 last

Washington Nationals: Outfielder Chris Snelling agreed to a $450,000, one-year contract.

Snelling and right-hander Emiliano Fruto joined the Nationals in last month's trade that sent second baseman Jose Vidro to the Mariners. The oft-injured Snelling hit .300 or better in each of his first seven pro seasons in the minors, and he batted .250 with three homers and eight RBIs in 36 games with Seattle in 2006.

The Nationals also agreed to one-years contracts with 12 other players on their 40-man roster: outfielders Tony Blanco and Frank Diaz; infielders Larry Broadway and Bernie Castro; catcher Jesus Flores; right-handers Brett Campbell, Shawn Hill, Beltran Perez, Levale Speigner and Jermaine Van Buren; and left-handers Matt Chico and Mike O'Connor.

Cleveland Indians: The Indians and reliever Rafael Betancourt agreed to an $840,000, one-year contract.

Betancourt was 3-4 with a 3.81 ERA in 50 appearances for the
Indians last season. The right-hander finished the season strong
with a 1.10 ERA over his final 13 games.

The Indians reached a preliminary agreement Monday with
outfielder Jason Michaels on a $4.25 million, two-year contract, a
deal subject to a physical.

Right-hander Jason Davis also is eligible for arbitration.

New York Yankees: Newly acquired reliever Luis Vizcaino and the
Yankees reached agreement on a one-year contract
worth $3 million before the sides exchanged salary arbitration

The Arizona Diamondbacks traded Vizcaino and three minor
leaguers to the Yankees this month for Randy Johnson.

Vizcaino was 4-6 last season with a 3.58 ERA in 70 games and
made $1,775,000. The 32-year-old righty is 25-23 lifetime with a
4.24 ERA in eight seasons with Oakland, Milwaukee, the Chicago
White Sox and Arizona.

The Yankees also signed infielder Chris Basak to a minor league
contract and invited him to spring training. The 28-year-old Basak
spent the last seven years in the New York Mets' system.

Atlanta Braves: The Braves and new reliever Rafael Soriano agreed to a $1.2 million contract.

Soriano, acquired from Seattle in a deal for starter Horacio Ramirez, made $500,000 last season. The right-hander is expected to serve as the main setup reliever for closer Bob Wickman.

Last season, Soriano pitched in 53 games for the Mariners. He had a 2.25 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 60 innings but missed the final month after a line drive struck him in the head.

Soriano was eligible for arbitration but avoided the process by agreeing to a deal with the Braves.

Cincinnati Reds: Right-hander Kyle Lohse, who moved into the
Cincinnati Reds' starting rotation down the stretch last season,
agreed Tuesday to a one-year contract.

Lohse, 28, made 19 starts and 15 relief appearances for the
Minnesota Twins and Reds combined last year. His last 11
appearances were as a starter for the Reds, going 3-5 with a 4.50
ERA. Lohse was acquired July 31 for minor-league pitcher Zach Ward.

The agreement avoided arbitration and left right-handed starter
Aaron Harang as the only Reds player eligible for arbitration.
Harang asked for a raise from $2.35 million to $5.5 million and was
offered $4.25 million.

Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks agreed to a $3.9 million, one-year contract with Orlando Hudson, avoiding arbitration with the Gold Glove second baseman.

The team also reached deals with arbitration-eligible relievers Brandon Lyon and Jose Valverde. Valverde agreed to a $2 million contract, a substantial raise from the $359,000 he made last year, when he went 2-3 with a 5.48 ERA in 44 games. He had 18 saves in 22 opportunities. Lyon gets $1.5 million, up from $830,000 last season, when he was 2-4 with a 3.89 ERA in a career-high 68 games.

The Diamondbacks and pitcher Doug Davis agreed to a three-year contract Thursday, avoiding arbitration.

Davis was acquired in a November trade that sent catcher Johnny Estrada to Milwaukee. The left-hander went 11-11 with a 4.91 ERA in 34 starts for the Brewers last season, tossing 203 1/3 innings. He will be part of a rotation that includes NL Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb, Randy Johnson and Livan Hernandez.

Davis, who made $3.6 million last year, asked for $7.5 million in arbitration and was offered $5.25 million by the Diamondbacks -- the second-largest difference between player and team. Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs were $4,475,000 apart when figures were exchanged Tuesday.

The 31-year-old Davis made $3.65 million last year. His agreement leaves the Diamondbacks with only one player remaining in arbitration: outfielder Eric Byrnes. He asked for $5 million and the club offered $4.25 million after he made $2.25 million last season.

Seattle Mariners: Left-hander Horacio Ramirez worked out a deal with his new team, agreeing to a $2.65 million, one-year contract with the Mariners. Ramirez made $2.2 million last year.

Mariners closer J.J. Putz agreed to a $13.1 million, three-year contract Wednesday. Putz gets a $1.5 million signing bonus plus base salaries of
$2.2 million this season, $3.4 million in 2008 and $5 million in
2009. The Mariners have an $8.6 million option for 2010, with a $1
million buyout.

Also avoiding salary arbitration was designated hitter/first baseman Ben Broussard, who agreed to a $3.55 million, one-year contract. Broussard made $2,487,500 last season.

Kansas City Royals: Emil Brown and the Royals agreed to a $3.45 million, one-year contract, avoiding salary arbitration.

Brown hit .287 with 15 home runs and a team-leading 81 RBIs last season. The 32-year-old outfielder also had 41 doubles, the most by a Royals player since Carlos Beltran hit 44 in 2002.

Brown played 87 games in left field and 54 games in right last year.

The deal was struck hours after Brown and the Royals exchanged salary arbitration figures. Brown, who made $1,775,000 last year after winning his arbitration case, asked for $3.8 million while the team offered $3 million.

Brown can earn an additional $50,000 this year for making the All-Star team.

Right-hander Todd Wellemeyer is the only Royals player remaining in arbitration. He asked for $740,000 and the club submitted $565,000.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.