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Players, teams start rush to settle in arbitration

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POSTED January 16, 2012 9:44 p.m.

NEW YORK — Players and teams started rushing to settle arbitration cases Monday, a day before the sides were to swap proposed salaries.

Eleven players agreed to contracts, leaving 126 set to exchange figures after 142 filed for arbitration last week. About 100 more were expected to reach agreements before the sides submit proposals Tuesday afternoon for one-year contracts that are not guaranteed.

San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum was expected to set records for the highest salaries asked for and received in arbitration. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner made $13.1 million last season, completing a two-year deal worth $23.2 million.

The highest figure ever requested was $22 million by Houston pitcher Roger Clemens in 2005 after he became a free agent and accepted arbitration. Among players with less than six years of major league service, the high of $18.5 million has been held by Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter since 2001.

San Francisco figures to top the $14.25 million the Yankees submitted for Jeter.

Others set to swap include NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Andre Ethier, Philadelphia pitcher Cole Hamels and teammate Hunter Pence, World Series star Mike Napoli of Texas and Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza.

Washington pitcher Gio Gonzalez, acquired from Oakland last month, has the big deal thus far, a $42 million, five-year contract that includes both a club option and a vesting player option. It could be worth $65.5 million over seven seasons.

Settlements are happening more slowly than in recent years: The 142 players who filed were the most since 150 in 1992.

About a half-dozen more players will become eligible for arbitration next year, when eligibility increases slightly for players with two to three years of major league service, from the top 17 percent by service time to the top 22 percent. They join unsigned players with at least three but less than six years of service.

Among one-year contracts announced Monday were deals for San Francisco outfielder Angel Pagan ($4.85 million), Pittsburgh All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan ($4.1 million) and right-hander Charlie Morton ($2,445,000), Detroit right-hander Rick Porcello ($3.1 million) and left-hander Phil Coke ($1.1 million), Kansas City second baseman Chris Getz ($937,500) and catcher Brayan Pena ($835,000), New York Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes ($3.2 million), Los Angeles Angels third baseman Alberto Callaspo ($3.15 million), Milwaukee outfielder Nyjer Morgan ($2.35 million) and Washington catcher Jesus Flores ($815,000).

Among free agents, oft-injured reliever Joel Zumaya and Minnesota agreed to an $850,000, one-year contract, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the team had yet to announce it.

Philadelphia and pitcher Joel Pineiro agreed to a minor league contract, a person familiar with that deal said, also on condition of anonymity because it had not been announced.

Boston agreed to minor league contracts with pitchers Aaron Cook and Justin Germano that were announced, and a deal with Vicente Padilla that was not announced. Cincinnati agreed to a minor league deal with catcher Dioner Navarro.

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