|Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain is among the arb-eligibles who came to terms on Thursday. (Getty Images)|
It's the time of year that teams are locking up their arbitration-eligible talent. Before we run down Thursday's new contracts, let's quickly review the salary-arbitration process ...
What's salary abitration? Players with between three years (or two years in some cases) and six years of major-league service time are eligible to have salary disputes settled by a panel of arbitrators. It's a binding process, which means the arbitrators pick either the salary submitted by the player or the salary submitted by the team -- no splitting the difference or plucking a figure out of the ether -- based on the arguments presented. As well, both team and player are bound to abide by the arbitrators' ruling. It's not free agency, of course, as players remain under team control until they have six years of service time (or are released, obviously), but it's their first taste of contractual empowerment.
As a consequence of all this, players enjoy a huge jump in salary during their arbitration years, and the curious nature of the process gives both sides incentive to negotiate a deal long before they reach that point.
Teams and players will exchange arbitration figures on Jan. 18, and arbitration hearings take place from Feb. 4-20, but the two sides can strike a deal at any point up until their hearing begins -- even after they exchange numbers and even as they're outside the hearing room waiting for their scheduled turn. According to the MLBPA, roughly 90 percent of arb-eligibles reach agreement in advance of a hearing.
And with that out of the way, here are the abitration-eligible players who on Thursday reached agreement on new contracts for 2013 ...
- Drew Butera, C, Twins: One year, $700,000;
- Joba Chamberlain, RP, Yankees: One year, $1.875 million;
- Neftali Feliz, RP/SP, Rangers: One year, $2.9 million;
- Matt Garza, SP, Cubs: One year, $10.25 million;
- Carlos Gomez, OF, Brewers: One year, $4.3 million;
- John Jaso, C, Athletics: One year, $1.8 million;
- Logan Ondrusek, RP, Reds: Two-year deal;
- Bobby Parnell, RP, Mets: One year, $1.7 million;
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Red Sox: One year, $4.5 million;
- Tony Sipp, RP, Diamondbacks: One year, $1.275 million;
- Seth Smith, OF, Athletics: One-year deal;
- Drew Storen, RP, Nationals: One year, $2.5 million;
- Will Venable, OF, Padres: One year, $2.675 million.