Mariners avoid arbitration with deals for three
Pitchers Aardsma, League, Vargas sign one-year contracts
SEATTLE -- The Mariners made a clean sweep of the arbitration process Tuesday, signing pitchers David Aardsma, Brandon League and Jason Vargas to one-year deals.
The three were the club's only remaining arbitration-eligible players, thus Seattle now heads toward Spring Training next month with no remaining contract issues.
Tuesday was the day unsigned players and teams had to exchange contract numbers in the binding arbitration process, so many deals were made around Major League Baseball as that deadline arrived even though it's still possible for compromise agreements to be reached before arbitration hearings are held from Feb. 1-18.
No terms of the new deals were released by the Mariners.
Aardsma earned $2.75 million last year in his first season of arbitration eligibility with the Mariners. The 29-year-old closer recently underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip and isn't expected to be fully ready to pitch until several weeks into the upcoming season.
Aardsma finished seventh in the American League in saves last year with 31, and his 69 saves since the start of '09 rank fifth among AL closers in that span. In two seasons in Seattle, he's already moved into fourth on the franchise's all-time saves list behind Kazuhiro Sasaki (129), J.J. Putz (101) and Mike Schooler (98).
League, now entering his third and final season of arbitration eligibility, made $1.08 million last year. He could be in line to fill the closer's role until Aardsma gets healthy this coming season after saving six games and posting a 9-7 record with a 3.42 ERA last season in 79 innings.
League, 27, led all AL relievers in wins last year, was second in innings pitched and tied for 10th in appearances with 70.
Vargas is going through the arbitration process for the first time. He made $412,500 last year in his first full season as a starter, when he posted a 9-12 record with a 3.78 ERA in 31 games.
Vargas, who turns 28 next month, was 9-5 with a 3.15 ERA in his first 23 starts before fading with an 0-7 record and 5.74 ERA in his final eight outings as he wound up throwing 192 2/3 innings, far more than the career-high 143 1/3 thrown in '09 while splitting time between Seattle and Triple-A Tacoma.
The Mariners are counting on Vargas to be a key member of their rotation in '11, and the left-hander is likely counting on the Mariners to be more helpful offensively after receiving the third-lowest run support in the AL last year at 3.46.
Seattle's two other arbitration-eligible players -- infielders Brendan Ryan and Josh Wilson -- both signed previously. Ryan signed a two-year, $2.75 million deal on Jan. 7 and Wilson agreed to a one-year, non-guaranteed $725,000 contract on Dec. 2.