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Orioles and reliever Brian Matusz avoid arbitration at $3.9 million

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The Orioles and reliever Brian Matusz have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.9 million contract, as first reported by Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports.

Matusz requested $4.4 million and was offered $3.5 million by the Orioles when figures were exchanged last month. The two sides ultimately settled for a little under the midpoint.

A former starter, Matusz has found his niche in Baltimore’s bullpen over the past three seasons. He had a 2.94 ERA over 58 appearances in 2015 while averaging a career-high 10.3 K/9. He’s due to be a free agent after this season.

With Matusz out of the way, closer Zach Britton is now the last arbitration case remaining for the Orioles. While it’s possible the two sides could settle, they have an arbitration hearing scheduled for February 17. There’s a bit of a gap here, as Britton requested a $7.9 million salary and was offered $5.6 million. If it does go to a hearing, the three-person arbitration panel will choose one salary or the other.

Angels hire Brad Ausmus as special assistant to the GM

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Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels have hired former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus as a special assistant to GM Billy Eppler.

Ausmus, 48, managed the Tigers for four seasons, accruing a 314-332 (.486) record. The Tigers fired him after the 2017 season and hired former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire in his place.

Ausmus will assist with scouting and evaluations of players in the Angels’ system, amateurs, and players in other organizations.