Three unsigned O's exchange figures
Three arbitration-eligible Orioles traded salary figures with Baltimore on Tuesday in hopes of reaching a contract agreement before arbitration hearings begin in February.
Baltimore starting pitcher Erik Bedard, outfielder Corey Patterson and second baseman Brian Roberts were among the 106 Major Leaguers who filed for third-party assistance through the Major League Players Association on Friday.
Of the three Orioles, Bedard had the biggest salary gap between what he's asking ($4 million), and what the club submitted ($2.7 million).
The 27-year-old has spent all of his four-year big-league career with Baltimore. The left-hander began the 2006 season 4-0 and added to that a seven-win streak from June 16-July 23 to have the most wins as a lefty at that point in the year. He went 3-5 over his next 11 starts to finish the season with a 15-11 record and 3.76 ERA over 33 starts.
Bedard, who made $1.4 million in 2006, walked just 69 in 196 1/3 innings, ninth-best in the American League. He also fanned an average of 7.84 batters per nine innings (171 total), the 10th-best ratio in the league.
Patterson enjoyed a productive season with the Orioles after hitting just .216 with the Cubs in 2005. The 27-year-old outfielder was a speedster on the bases, stealing 45 bags in 135 games for Baltimore in 2006, third-best in the AL and his career best. He also saw his batting average rise to .276, and held a .989 fielding percentage, with just four errors in 356 chances.
A seven-year big-leaguer and first-round pick of the Cubs in 1998, Patterson holds a career .257 batting average and 131 total stolen bases.
He made $2.8 million in 2006. Baltimore offered him a $4 million contract for 2007, while Patterson's offer came in at $600,000 higher.
Roberts tailed off a bit from his 2005 All-Star season in which he had career highs in batting average (.314), hits (176), triples (seven), homers (18), RBIs (73), OBP (.387) and slugging percentage (.515). Still, the switch-hitting second baseman overcame a season-ending injury to his left (non-throwing) elbow and subsequent surgery to hit .286 and steal 36 bases in 2006.
Roberts went on a midseason tear, reaching safely in 51 of 65 games and hitting .297 during most of July and August, and he finished with the third-best average among teammates with at least 150 at-bats.
Roberts' career numbers are respectable as well, with a .280 batting average, 250 RBIs and a .404 slugging percentage over 665 games played.
The six-year veteran is seeking a $4.6 million contract for 2007, while the Orioles are offering $3.8 million. He made $3.075 million last year.
Athletes and their clubs can continue to negotiate contracts until the arbitration hearing, when one of the two salaries submitted will be chosen. Hearings run from Feb. 1-20, and the outcomes are binding.