AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer has agreed to a one-year contract with the Detroit Tigers for $15,525,000, setting himself up for an even bigger payday when he becomes eligible for free agency after the season.
Scherzer went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 240 strikeouts as the Tigers advanced to the AL championship series against Boston. He made $6,725,000 last year, and another stellar season could put him in position to gain a deal similar to those of teammate Justin Verlander ($180 million for seven years) and Seattle's Felix Hernandez ($175 million for seven) or even the Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw ($215 million for seven).
Detroit also reached one-year agreements with right-handers Rick Porcello and Al Alburquerque, and outfielders Andy Dirks and Austin Jackson. All had filed for arbitration.
Porcello went 13-8 with a 4.32 ERA and a career-high 142 strikeouts . Alburquerque appeared in 53 games, posting a 4-3 record and 4.59 ERA.
Dirks hit .256 with 16 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 37 RBIs. Jackson batted .272 with 30 doubles, seven triples, 12 homers and 49 RBIs.
Zimmerman, Desmond agree to contracts with Nats
Right-handed starter Jordan Zimmermann and shortstop Ian Desmond were among a group of players agreeing to contracts with the Washington Nationals on Friday, avoiding arbitration.
Zimmermann and Desmond, two homegrown cornerstones of the team, received two-year contracts. The Nationals announced the deals on its Twitter feed but declined to reveal the financial terms.
Other Nationals players agreeing to contracts before Friday's deadline for submitting arbitration figures included former closer Drew Storen, catcher Wilson Ramos, and lefties Ross Detwiler and Jerry Blevins.
Two other Nationals players filed for salary arbitration Tuesday: right-handed starter Doug Fister, who was acquired from the Detroit Tigers in a trade this off-season, and right-handed reliever Tyler Clippard.
Zimmermann went 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA over 213 1-3 innings last season for the Nationals, who went 86-76 and finished second in the NL East, failing to reach the playoffs.
Desmond hit .280 with 20 homers and 80 RBIs in 2013, along with a career-best .971 fielding percentage. He was an NL All-Star in 2012, when he hit 25 homers and helped Washington win its division.
Ramos hit .272 with 16 homers in only 287 at-bats, missing time because of leg injuries.
Storen was 4-2 with three saves and a 4.52 ERA in 61 2-3 innings in 2013, when he also was sent to Triple-A Syracuse in July for a brief stint in the minors. He had 43 saves in 2011, missed the first part of 2012 because of right elbow surgery, then switched to a setup role last season after Washington signed Rafael Soriano.
Detwiler was 2-7 with a 4.04 ERA in 2013, splitting time between the rotation and bullpen.
Washington got Blevins from the Oakland Athletics in a trade last month. He was 5-0 with a 3.15 ERA in a career-high 67 games in 2013.
White Sox agree with Beckham, De Aza
The Chicago White Sox have agreed to one-year contracts with infielder Gordon Beckham and outfielder Alejandro De Aza and avoided arbitration with both players.
The deals were announced on Friday. Beckham will receive $4.175 million in base salary, while De Aza will receive $4.25 million.
Beckham hit .267 with five home runs and 24 RBIs over 103 games last season, his fifth with the White Sox. He owns the second (.9899 in 2012) and third (.9889 in 2011) highest fielding percentages by a second baseman in White Sox history, trailing only Nellie Fox's .9901 mark in 1962.
De Aza hit .264 with 17 home runs, 62 RBIs, 84 runs scored and 20 stolen bases over 153 games last season.
The White Sox have no remaining arbitration-eligible players.
Gardner, Robertson, Nova to re-sign with Yanks
Outfielder Brett Gardner and pitchers Ivan Nova, David Robertson and Shawn Kelley have agreed to one-year contracts with the New York Yankees, raising the team's luxury tax payroll to about $181.5 million for 19 players with agreements.
Gardner gets $5.6 million under Friday's deal, while Robertson earns $5,215,000, Nova $3.3 million and Kelley $1,765,000.
New York, which settled with all its players in arbitration, hopes to be under the $189 million luxury tax threshold. It would appear the Yankees might go over the mark even if they don't sign Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
The Yankees' payroll was lowered by Alex Rodriguez's season-long suspension for violations of baseball's drug agreement and labour contract. While he would have counted for $27.5 million on the team's tax payroll, the suspension likely will lower his figure $3,155,738, pending agreement by Major League Baseball and the players' association.
Pirates reach deal with 6 players
The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to terms with all six players who had filed for arbitration, including third baseman Pedro Alvarez and second baseman Neil Walker.
The 26-year-old Alvarez will make $4.25 million in 2014. Alvarez is coming off an All-Star season in which he hit a career-high 36 home runs.
Walker will make $5.75 million. He hit .251 with 16 home runs and 53 RBIs in 2013 while missing 29 games due to injury.
Reliever Mark Melancon, who split time as a setup man and a closer last season, will make $2,595,000. Melancon went 3-2 with a 1.39 ERA and 16 saves in 72 appearances in 2013.
The Pirates also reached agreements with first baseman Gaby Sanchez ($2.3 million), outfielder Travis Snider ($1.2 million) and right-handed reliever Vin Mazzaro ($950,000).
Rangers sign Ogando, Feliz to 1-year contracts
The Texas Rangers have agreed to one-year contracts with Neftali Feliz and Alexi Ogando, avoiding salary arbitration with the two right-handed pitchers.
With the moves Friday, designated hitter Mitch Moreland is the only Rangers player eligible for salary arbitration.
Feliz returned in August from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, and pitched 4 2-3 scoreless innings in six appearances. With closer Joe Nathan gone in free agency, Feliz could return to a closer role for Texas.
Ogando was 7-4 with a 3.11 ERA in 23 games (18 starts) last season, when he had three stints on the disabled list for right biceps tendinitis and then right shoulder inflammation. Ogando is expected to remain a starter.
Closer Parnell, Mets settle on 1-year deal
Closer Bobby Parnell has agreed to a $3.7 million, one-year contract with the New York Mets and left fielder Eric Young Jr. has settled for a $1.85 million, one-year deal.
The agreements Friday left Lucas Duda, Dillon Gee and Daniel Murphy as the last Mets players in arbitration.
The speedy Young was a pleasant surprise in the leadoff spot last season after he was acquired from Colorado in June for pitcher Collin McHugh. Young led the NL with 46 stolen bases and made $492,000.
Parnell didn't pitch after July 30 and had surgery Sept. 10 to repair a herniated disk in his neck. He has been working out in Florida. He was 5-5 with a career-best 2.16 ERA last year and 22 saves in 26 chances.
Braves avoid arbitration with Medlen, Minor
The Braves have agreed to one-year contracts with pitchers Kris Medlen and Mike Minor, infielder Chris Johnson and outfielder Jordan Schafer.
Friday's agreements left the Braves with three players remaining in arbitration: closer Craig Kimbrel, first baseman Freddie Freeman and outfielder Jason Heyward.
Medlen (15-12, 3.11 ERA) and Minor (13-9, 3.21) were key members of the rotation, while Johnson surprisingly wound up second in the NL with a .321 batting average after being acquired from Ar'izona along with Justin Upton. Schafer is a backup outfielder who led Atlanta with 22 stolen bases.
Reynolds agrees with Brewers
Infielder Mark Reynolds agreed to a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Reynolds would get a $2 million salary if added to the 40-man major league roster, and he can terminate the agreement announced Friday if he is not put on the big league roster by March 24.
If he makes the major league team, Reynolds could earn $600,000 in performance bonuses: $125,000 each for 200, 300, 400 and 500 plate appearances. There are additional award bonuses.
Reynolds is a .233 hitter with 202 homers, 568 RBIs, 459 walks and 1,276 strikeouts. He hit .220 last season with 21 homers and 67 RBIs for Cleveland and the New York Yankees.
The 30-year-old Reynolds can play first or third base. His most recent at-bat in the majors drew some attention: He hit a go-ahead home run in the 14th inning at Houston last September in the final game in uniform of Yankees teammates Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte.
Indians avoid arbitration with Rzepczynski
The Indians avoided salary arbitration with reliever Marc Rzepczynski by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $1,375,000.
The left-hander posted a 0.89 ERA in 27 games last season for Cleveland, which acquired Rzepczynski (zep-chin-ski) on July 30 from St. Louis. The 28-year-old was brought in to help Cleveland's issues in getting out left-handed hitters and he held lefties to just a .159 average.
Rzepczynski was one of six Cleveland players to file for arbitration. Earlier this week, the team worked out a 1-year deal with reliever Josh Outman. Top starter Justin Masterson, left fielder Michael Brantley and pitchers Vinnie Pestano and Josh Tomlin also filed for arbitration.
The Indians haven't gone to an arbitration hearing since 1991.
Hellickson, 5 others evade arbitration with Rays
A day after agreeing to a one-year contract with three-time All-Star pitcher David Price, the Tampa Bay Rays have reached deals with their six players remaining in arbitration.
Pitchers Jeremy Hellickson, Jake McGee and Cesar Ramos, outfielder Matt Joyce, catcher Jose Lobaton and infielder/outfielder Sean Rodriguez agreed Friday to one-year contracts.
Price agreed Thursday to a $14 million salary.
Hellickson started 31 games last season, going 12-10 with a 5.17 ERA. McGee 5-3, 4.02) and Ramos (2-2, 4.14) are left-handed relievers.
Joyce hit .235 with 18 homers and 47 RBIs. Lobaton batted .249 with seven homers and 32 RBIs, while Rodriguez hit .246 with five homers and 23 RBIs while appearing in 94 games at five positions.
Astros agree to terms with Castro, Guzman
The Astros said Friday they have agreed to terms on one-year contracts with All-Star catcher Jason Castro and utility player Jesus Guzman.
The 26-year-old Castro hit .276 with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs in 120 games, setting single-season team records for a catcher with his homers, doubles (35), runs scored (63) and extra-base hits (54).
The 29-year-old Guzman was acquired from San Diego last month in exchange for infielder Ryan Jackson. Guzman played in 126 games for the Padres in 2013, hitting 17 doubles, nine home runs and knocking in 35 RBIs. He started at four different positions.
Terms were not disclosed. Castro and Guzman were the only two unsigned Astros players eligible for salary arbitration.