Phillies sign reliever Downs to three-year deal worth $10 million

Updated: January 18, 2008, 3:17 AM ET news services

Left-hander Scott Downs agreed Thursday to a $10 million, three-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays after a breakout season in which he had a 2.17 ERA.

Downs went 4-2 in 81 relief appearances, tied for the AL lead. He struck out 57 in 58 innings and walked just 24.

Downs gets $2.25 million this year, $3.75 million next year and $4 million in 2010. He made $1.05 million last season.

Toronto also agreed to a $2.65 million, two-year contract with infielder Marco Scutaro and one-year contracts with right-hander Jason Frasor ($1,125,000), and left-handers Gustavo Chacin ($725,000) and Brian Tallet ($640,000).

Outfielder Alex Rios is Toronto's last remaining player in arbitration.

Scutaro gets $1.55 million this season, matching his base salary last year, and $1.1 million in 2009. The 32-year-old Scutaro, acquired in November from Oakland, filled in for both second baseman Mark Ellis and shortstop Bobby Crosby when they were hurt in recent seasons.

Scutaro hit .260 last year with seven home runs and 41 RBIs in 104 games. He made 86 starts at five positions, including 38 at shortstop, 33 at third base, 12 at second base, two in right field and one in left field.

He can earn a $25,000 bonus for 400 plate appearances this year and $400,000 in performance bonuses in 2009: $100,000 each for 400, 425, 450 and 475 plate appearances.

Frasor, who got a raise of $300,000, was 1-5 with a 4.58 ERA in 51 relief appearances. He struck out 59 in 57 innings and walked 23 and served as closer for a time in April after B.J. Ryan went on the disabled list. Jeremy Accardo wound up filling the closer's role, and Frasor finished the season with three saves.

Chacin went 2-1 with a 5.60 ERA in five starts last year but did not pitch after April 28 because of a strained left shoulder. He had season-ending surgery in August to repair a small tear in his rotator cuff.

In 2006, Chacin was limited to 17 starts because of an elbow strain.

Chacin is the only left-handed starter on Toronto's roster. The rest of the projected rotation includes right-handers Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Shaun Marcum, Dustin McGowan and Jesse Litsch.

Tallet appeared in a career-high 48 games for Toronto in 2007, going 2-4 with a 3.47 ERA. He struck out 54 and walked 28.

Teams and players exchange figures Friday.

Elsewhere in the majors:

Atlanta Braves: First baseman Mark Teixeira agreed to a $12.5 million, one-year contract with the Braves on Thursday, one of four Atlanta players coming to terms rather than going through arbitration.

Teixeira, who added power to the Braves lineup after being acquired from Texas just before the trade deadline, received a big raise over the $9 million he made last season.

He batted .317 with 17 homers and 56 RBIs with Atlanta. Overall, Teixeira had 30 homers, 105 RBIs and hit .306.

The more difficult negotiations with the slugger and agent Scott Boras will come after this season, when Teixeira is eligible for free agency.

The Braves avoided arbitration with other three players, agreeing to one-year contracts Thursday with pitchers Mike Gonzalez and Tyler Yates and infielder Omar Infante.

Gonzalez reached a deal for $2,362,500, basically the same salary he played for last season ($2.35 million). The left-hander pitched in only 18 games in 2007, going 2-0 with two saves and a 1.59 ERA before season-ending elbow surgery. He isn't expected to return until around the All-Star break.

Infante, acquired from the Chicago Cubs during the winter meetings to bolster Atlanta's infield depth, will play for $1.4 million this season, a raise of $100,000.

Yates got $800,000 after making $412,500 last season for the Braves. He was 2-3 with a 5.18 ERA and two saves.

Two other Braves filed for arbitration: reliever Rafael Soriano and outfielder Matt Diaz.

In other maneuvers, the Braves sent troubled infielder Willy Aybar to Tampa Bay in a three-player trade Thursday that brought left-hander Jeff Ridgway to Atlanta.

The Rays also received minor league infielder Chase Fontaine from Atlanta.

The 24-year-old Aybar was expected to be a key backup for the Braves last season, but he injured his right hand, reportedly battled substance abuse problems and wound up missing the entire year.

Aybar was suspended by the Braves when he failed to show up for treatment. He eventually had season-ending surgery.

Ridgway gives the Braves another bullpen candidate after pitching most of last season at Triple-A Durham. He went 2-3 with a 3.06 ERA and four saves in 54 games with the Bulls before getting called up to the majors in the final month.

The 27-year-old Ridgway made three appearances for the Rays, struggling to get anyone out. He allowed seven runs in one-third of an inning for a 189.00 ERA.

Fontaine, 22, hit a combined .280 with seven home runs and 58

Chicago White Sox: Third baseman Joe Crede agreed Thursday to a one-year, $5.1 million contract that allowed him to earn an additional $300,000 in performance bonuses.

Crede, who played only 47 games last season before back surgery, was Chicago's last remaining arbitration-eligible player. He batted .216 with four homers and 22 RBIs last season.

Crede was a standout defensively and provided clutch hitting for the White Sox in 2005, when they won the World Series.

As of now, the White Sox have two third basemen. Josh Fields was called up last season and batted .244 with 23 homers and 67 RBIs in 100 games.

Detroit Tigers: Marcus Thames and the Detroit Tigers agreed to a $1,275,000, one-year contract on Thursday, avoiding salary arbitration.

The 30-year-old outfielder batted .242 with 18 home runs and 54 RBIs in 86 games with Detroit in 2007. In four seasons with the Tigers, he's hit .244 with 61 homers and 163 RBIs in 295 games.

Thames can earn an additional $25,000 in performance bonuses.

Florida Marlins: Matt Treanor and the Florida Marlins avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $705,000, one-year contract on Thursday.

The catcher had his best season last year, batting .269 with four homers and 19 RBIs in 55 games. This year will be his fifth with the Marlins.

Treanor is expected to share playing time with prospect Mike Rabelo, acquired from Detroit in the deal that sent slugger Miguel Cabrera and left-hander Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers.

Treanor can earn an additional $45,000 in performance bonuses: $15,000 each for making 55, 70 and 80 starts.

The Marlins have three other players who filed for arbitration: outfielder Alfredo Amezaga, and right-handers Kevin Gregg and Sergio Mitre.

Kansas City Royals: Left-handed pitcher Jimmy Gobble and the Kansas City Royals agreed Thursday to a $1,312,500, one-year contract, leaving the team with six players in salary arbitration.

Gobble was 4-1 last year with a 3.02 ERA and 50 strikeouts. He is 22-21 with a 4.94 ERA in five seasons with the Royals.

Other Royals in salary arbitration are catcher John Buck, pitcher Jorge De La Rosa, second baseman Esteban German, first baseman Ross Gload, pitcher Zack Greinke and right fielder Mark Teahen.

Los Angeles Angels: Juan Rivera avoided arbitration with the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal for $2,025,000.

The right fielder will make the same base salary as last season. His new deal calls for $150,000 in bonuses based on plate appearances.

Rivera broke his left leg playing winter ball in December 2007 after having a career season with the Angels in 2006. He was limited to 43 at-bats last season, hitting .279 with eight RBIs.

Rivera would earn $25,000 for making 375 plate appearances and $25,000 for each additional 25 plate appearances through 500.

Milwaukee Brewers: Left-hander Chris Capuano and the Milwaukee Brewers agreed Thursday on a $3.75 million, one-year contract, avoiding arbitration.

The 29-year-old Capuano began last season 5-0, then lost 12 consecutive decisions to finish 5-12 with a 5.10 ERA. Milwaukee lost the final 22 games Capuano appeared in _ 18 starts and four relief appearances.

He underwent surgery Oct. 11 to repair a right shoulder tear.

The team said at the time he was expected to be ready for spring training.

Two other Brewers remain in arbitration: shortstop J.J. Hardy and right-hander Dave Bush.

Capuano went 18-12 with a 3.99 ERA in 2005 and made the NL All-Star team the following season. He can earn an additional $25,000 each for making 26, 28 and 30 starts this season.

Minnesota Twins: Minnesota Twins outfielder and designated hitter Jason Kubel agreed to a $1.3 million, one-year contract Thursday, avoiding arbitration.

Kubel, who has struggled with knee injuries for much of his career, hit .273 with 13 homers and 65 RBIs in 128 games last season.

The Twins have long thought he has the ability to give them much-needed pop near the bottom of the order, provided he can stay healthy. He showed promise last season, finishing the year by hitting .323 in his final 10 games.

Despite lingering knee problems, Kubel did seem to settle in in left field toward the end of the season. But the acquisition of Delmon Young from Tampa Bay this offseason means the left-handed hitting Kubel can again expect to split time in the outfield and at DH this year.

Four other Twins players filed for arbitration: first baseman Justin Morneau (the 2006 AL MVP), right fielder Michael Cuddyer, and right-handers Matt Guerrier and Juan Rincon.

Philadelphia Phillies: Relief pitchers Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson avoided arbitration with the Philadelphia Phillies by agreeing to one-year contracts Thursday.

Lidge got a $6.35 million deal, while Madson's salary will be $1.4 million.

Acquired from Houston in November to assume the closer's role, Lidge went 5-3 with 19 saves and a 3.36 ERA in 66 games last season with the Astros. He had the fifth-most strikeouts (88) among major league relievers and the sixth-highest strikeout ratio (11.82 per nine innings).

Madson was 2-2 with a 3.05 ERA and one save in 38 appearances for Philadelphia. He had two stints on the disabled list, and his season ended July 30 because of a strained right shoulder.

Both pitchers have performance bonuses in their contracts.

The Phillies have two other players who filed for arbitration: first baseman Ryan Howard (the 2006 NL MVP) and infielder Eric Bruntlett (also acquired from Houston).

Pittsburgh Pirates: Third baseman Jose Bautista and the Pittsburgh Pirates bypassed arbitration by agreeing Thursday to a $1.8 million, one-year contract.

Bautista's deal leaves the Pirates with three players still eligible for arbitration: second baseman Freddy Sanchez, outfielder Xavier Nady and left-handed reliever John Grabow.

Bautista's salary represents a substantial raise from the $397,500 he made last season. The deal includes $100,000 in available performance bonuses for games played and plate appearances.

Bautista hit .254 with 15 homers and 63 RBIs while playing in a career-high 142 games last season.

Bautista, 27, was a 20th-round draft pick by Pittsburgh in 2000, but was claimed by Baltimore in the Rule 5 draft in December 2003. He wound up playing for four teams in 2004 -- the Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Kansas City Royals and Pirates -- after the Orioles designated him for assignment in late May.

Bautista returned to Pittsburgh in a July 2004 trade. He batted .235 with 16 homers and 51 RBIs in 117 games in 2006, playing the infield and outfield.

Tampa Bay Rays: Jonny Gomes and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration, agreeing Thursday to a $1,275,000, one-year contract that more than triples his salary from last season.

Gomes rebounded from a slow start and a demotion to Triple-A Durham in 2007, batting .244 with 17 home runs and 49 RBIs. He had 16 homers and 44 RBIs while starting 81 of Tampa Bay's final 99 games. He was hitting .184 with one homer and five RBIs when he was sent to the minors on May 28.

The 27-year-old outfielder and designated hitter, who earned $407,800 last season, is expected to share right field and DH duties with Cliff Floyd and Rocco Baldelli. Gomes' 58 homers the past three seasons are the most by any Tampa Bay player.

Gomes batted .313 against left-handed pitching last season. He can earn an additional $25,000 for 500 plate appearances this year.

Washington Nationals:Right-hander Tim Redding and the Washington Nationals agreed to a $1 million, one-year deal Thursday, avoiding arbitration.

Since making his major league debut with the Houston Astros in 2001, Redding only once has made more than 17 starts in a season and he never has thrown more than 176 innings. He's 24-40 with a 4.91 ERA with four clubs.

Last season, his first with Washington and first in the majors since 2005, Redding went 3-6 with a 3.64 ERA over 84 innings in 15 appearances, all starts, after being called up from the minors in July.

Redding spent all of 2006 in the minors. He turns 30 in February.

The contract includes $200,000 in performance bonuses: $25,000 each if Redding reaches 25, 27, 29 and 31 starts, and $25,000 each if he reaches 180, 190, 200 and 210 innings.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.