Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles and closer Jim Johnson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.5 million contract. He could earn an additional $50,000 based on games finished.
Johnson requested $7.1 million and was offered $5.7 million from the Orioles when arbitration figures were exchanged last month, so the two sides settled for a little over the midpoint. The 29-year-old right-hander made just $2.625 million last season, but his salary will more than double for 2013 after he posted a 2.49 ERA and led the majors with 51 saves.
Johnson was arbitration-eligible for the third time this winter, but because he was a Super Two player, he’ll remain under team control through 2014. That means he’ll likely have another healthy jump in pay next winter.
It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.
Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.
That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.