Kevin Towers has had to handle arbitration deadlines before. In his first offseason at the helm of the Diamondbacks, he had four players to get under contract, but succeeding in securing only a pair of them. At yesterday's deadline, Joe Saunders and Stephen Drew had re-upped, Drew for two more seasons. Left unsigned were Miguel Montero and Kelly Johnson. Both exchanged figures with the club and will work to get deals signed prior to February when arbitration hearings are set to begin.
Drew gets the bigger deal, though a smaller payout in 2011. Fox Sports Arizona's Jack Magruder tweeted the details of Drew's deal. He'll get $4.65 million next season, which is a 36.8% raise over his 2010 salary of $3.4 million. In 2012, he's due to receive $7.75 million. THe deal also includes a club option for 2013 worth $10 million. The option can be bought out for $1.35 million. Drew had one of his best offensive seasons in 2010. His batting line was .278/.352/.458 and he had double digits in doubles, triples and home runs for the third consecutive seasons.
Saunders came to the Diamondbacks in the much maligned Dan Haren deal. He improved his walk rate, moving to the NL, but was still only an average starter. Per Magruder, Saunders will get $5.5 million next season, and will remain arbitration eligible for 2012, though by that time he may be more expensive than the value Arizona would receive in return. He instantly becomes a candidate to be non-tendered next season.
That was the route Johnson took to get to Arizona. The Braves non-tendered him last offseason making him a free agent. Instead of an arbitration settlement from Atlanta, Johnson got a one-year deal in the desert. That contract paid him $2.35 million, which was less than he could have counted on getting in arbitration. Johnson responded to the contract snub with his best season. He belted 26 home runs and batted .284/.370/.496 in 671 plate appearances. The AP reports he is seeking to get $6.5 million, while the club is offering $4.7 million.
Montero came up in the Arizona system. He broke out in 2009, in time for his first season of arbitration eligibility where he received a $2 million deal. But 2010 was filled with regression, much of which was due to injury. The club is taking that into account in their offer to their likely starting catcher. The AP report notes that they are offering $2.8 million, while Montero is seeking $3.4 million.
Joe Tetreault is Managing Editor of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball
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