Bartlett agrees to two-year deal with Padres
San Diego avoids arbitration with recently acquired shortstop
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres found a way to shorten their list of arbitration-eligible players on Monday when they reached an agreement on a two-year contract with new shortstop Jason Bartlett.
Bartlett, acquired last month from the Rays, agreed to a two-year deal worth $11 million with a vesting option for the 2013 season. He will make $4 million this season, $5.5 million in 2012 with a $5.5 million team option for 2013 and a $1.5 million buyout.
The Padres announced the deal on Monday.
The Padres, who have had a revolving door at shortstop since parting ways with Khalil Greene in 2008, will now have stability at the position.
The Padres haven't had a player appear in more than 106 games at shortstop in any one season since Greene appeared in 153 in 2007.
Bartlett has appeared in over 125 games at shortstop in each of the past four seasons.
"His value is in that he does everything well. He brings a ton to a team. He's a winning player," Padres general manager Jed Hoyer said last month. "I don't think it was a fluke that the year they went to the World Series, he was the team MVP despite not having gaudy numbers."
Last season, Jerry Hairston Jr. played 62 games at shortstop after Everth Cabrera (61 games at shortstop) was sidelined twice with hamstring issues. Miguel Tejada appeared in 58 games at shortstop after the July trade that brought him from the Orioles.
Now the Padres have Bartlett to pair with second baseman Orlando Hudson for the next two seasons. Hudson also agreed to a two-year deal with the Padres last month."Last year, going into the season, we felt fairly good about where we were up the middle," Hoyer said. "But it wasn't to be in a lot of ways. Up the middle was an area of weakness. I think we've gotten stronger there this year." The multiyear deal for Bartlett on Monday means infielder Everth Cabrera, the Padres' Opening Day shortstop in 2010, will begin the season with Triple-A Tucson. Bartlett spent four seasons with the Twins before being traded as part of a six-player deal before the 2008 season to the Rays. The Rays lost to the Phillies in the World Series that season. In '09, Bartlett hit .320 with 14 home runs and 66 RBIs.
Hoyer, who was an assistant general manager in Boston before becoming the Padres general manager before last season, said that he always liked Bartlett's style of play when he saw a lot of Bartlett in the American League East.
"The guy is a pest. He annoys you as an opponent. He's the kind of guy you want," Hoyer said.
The Padres still have five players who are eligible for arbitration: pitchers Mike Adams, Heath Bell, Tim Stauffer, outfielder Ryan Ludwick and third baseman Chase Headley.
Major League Baseball has a Jan. 5-15 salary arbitration filing period. Hoyer indicated the team will look to lock up its five remaining players over the next five days.
If an agreement is not reached by then, the player and the team will exchange salary figures on Jan. 18. From there, salary arbitration hearings are from Feb. 1-21.
The Padres reached a pre-arbitration deal for 2011 with outfielder Chris Denorfia last month. Denorfia, who figures to be the fourth outfielder, will make $800,000.