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.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.
The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.