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January 17, 2011

O's and Johnson agree to deal, avoid arbitration

The Orioles have settled another arbitration case, reaching an agreement Monday night with reliever Jim Johnson less than 24 hours before the club and the pitcher were set to exchange contract numbers.

Johnson. who went 1-1 with a 3.42 ERA in 26 appearances during an injury-hampered 2010 season, will make $975,000 in 2011. Although he doesn't have three years of major league service time, he's one of 20 players with more than two years' service time eligible for arbitration this year. He will be eligible for arbitration four times instead of three.

Johnson made $440,000 last season.

The agreement leaves the Orioles with four remaining arbitration-eligible players: outfielders Luke Scott and Felix Pie, shortstop J.J. Hardy and pitcher Jeremy Guthrie.

The Orioles and center fielder Adam Jones on Sunday agreed to a one-year, $3.25 million deal.

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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 9:55 PM | | Comments (7)


I like what the O's are doing here. Signing Jonesy and Johnson before what is almost always damaging arbitration signals to me that the team really wants to keep these young guys around. The players get the security of a good deal, and they don't have things messing with their heads during ST and the upcoming season. I sure wouldn;t mind signing Vladimir, too.

Those don't seem like logical numbers, Jeff. For an injury-riddled, sub-par year, they more than double Johnson's salary? And Jones goes from $465,000, as you reported yesterday or the day before, to $3.25? Last year he dropped off from his Gold Glove season of the year before and did not make any hitting improvements. Those salary hikes must be based on service time, I guess?

And if they were both settlement figures intended to head off arbitration, I shudder to think what each player's submitted demand actually would have been. Why would the O's just OFFER a number that big? You'd have to think pure performance did not drive those numbers.

Johnson was worth a lot more then he was paid for... He has for the last few years. He earned that deal or better over the last few years. Sure he had an injury. But how many injured guys (Uehara) still make millions?

Jones is only getting $3.25? I am guessing the O's were going to offer in the $2.5 range and he was going to submit the $4 mil range. He has a gold glove and a AS app on his resume. And say what ya will but he was one of the top guys on the team last year.

I read a lot of negative reaction to McPhail's work over the offseason, but in reality of what was available, I think he has done exceptionally well. We have lost no futures to speak of and provided some offensive numbers to make the club competitive. I say, let's wait and see, this could jell really well.

Doesn't quite jive with the"Penny pinching SOB talk that Wayne and a few others spout all the time.

Both deals are good smart deals for the players and the O's, these are two of the young core guys on the team that should be heading into their prime years. Johnson came back and showed he was healthy, and Jones struggled early as Trembley tried to use him in various spots in the lineup to make up for the loss of Roberts.

Jones's weakness at handling that low and away pitch that is tailing out of the Strike Zone is well known. I'm betting he develops the eye to read what pitchers are doing to him. With less pressure on Jones to carry the team, look for his production to pick up this year.

Johnson, if he stays healthy, will be a valuable part of a much improved pen. The guy's got some filthy stuff when he's right.

I'd imagine the O's are working toward signing the other 4 arbitration guys before they make it to arbitration too.

Jeff, any talk about signing Luke to a multi-year deal? With this being his next to last year of arbitration, it seems to be the time when some teams have tried to do a multi-year deals. Player gives up one or two years more until free agency in exchange for security of of an early multiyear deal. Is there any talk from either side expressing an interest in that kind of deal?

Jeff Z's reply: Luke's side certainly wants to explore that, but I've heard nothing from the O's to indicate that they are heading down that path with Scott.

Those lower salaries are chosen by the team until the player reaches his service time to make arbitration. If that number doesn't at least double once they reach arbitration eligibility that player probably shouldn't be in the majors (or the player exploded onto the scene and deserves a higher rate to begin with) And jones' numbers are very respectable. I think that's a good deal considering what players putting up similar numbers are making.

Trade Galarraga from Tigers for one or two minor leaguers.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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