The Orioles signed left-handed reliever B.J. Ryan to a one-year, $1,275,000 contract yesterday, leaving right fielder Jay Gibbons as their only remaining potential arbitration case.
Ryan, 28, went 4-1 with a 3.40 ERA in 76 appearances last season and was second among American League relievers with an average of 11.26 strikeouts for every nine innings pitched.
Last year, former Orioles manager Mike Hargrove used Ryan primarily against left-handed batters, but Ryan's role could increase this season under new manager Lee Mazzilli.
Left-handed hitters hit .186 off Ryan last year, compared to .273 for right-handers.
Team officials indicated yesterday they also were closing in on a deal for Gibbons, who filed his arbitration number at $2.8 million, while the Orioles countered at $2.4 million. If no agreement is reached, the sides will take their cases before an arbitrator next Thursday.
In Ryan's case, the Orioles settled at the midpoint, as he filed at $1.55 million, and they countered at $1 million. He won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2005 season.