Bergesen, 26, filed for $1.2 million after a season in which he was 2-7 with a 5.70 ERA in 34 games, including 12 starts. The Orioles countered with $800,000, and since the sides could not find middle ground, they went before a three-person arbitration panel Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The panel chose the Orioles’ figure — which is still a considerable increase for Bergesen, who made $434,000 in 2011.
It was the first time the Orioles had gone to a hearing with a player since 2006, when they defeated starting pitcher Rodrigo Lopez. The club is now 7-0 in arbitration cases when led by general counsel H. Russell Smouse and 9-1 since the team has been owned by attorney Peter Angelos. The loss came against starting pitcher Ben McDonald in 1995. Both McDonald and Lopez were represented by agent Scott Boras.
This year, the club initially had nine arbitration-eligible players. Two, pitchers Willie Eyre and Jo-Jo Reyes, were nontendered while two more, pitchers Darren O’Day ($1.35 million) and Dana Eveland ($750,000), settled well before the process began. Reliever Jim Johnson ($2.625 million) settled as the filing day neared, and infielder Robert Andino ($1.3 million) settled at the midpoint after filing ($1.6 million/$1 million). Jeremy Guthrie was traded to the Colorado Rockies on Monday, the day in which his hearing was scheduled. Guthrie had filed for $10.25 million, the Orioles countered with $7.25 million and he agreed with the Rockies on a one-year deal for $8.2 million.
With Bergesen’s salary decided, it leaves the Orioles with just one more case if it can’t be settled: a Feb. 17 hearing with Adam Jones. The 26-year-old center fielder, who made $3.25 million in 2011, submitted a $7.4 million salary for next season after hitting .280 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs. The Orioles countered with $5 million.
Bergesen, who is 17-24 with a 4.68 career ERA in three seasons as an Oriole, is considered a Super Two player, meaning he had enough service time in comparison with other two-plus-year players to qualify for four years of arbitration instead of three. This was the first time participating in the process for Bergesen, who is represented by agent Joe Longo.
Bergesen’s 2012 role is undefined; he could pitch in the bullpen or win a slot in the crowded rotation but also has a minor league option remaining and might end up at Triple-A Norfolk to begin the season.
MASNSports.com first reported the arbitration decision.