The Orioles entered the offseason with 11 arbitration-eligible players and many of them were expected to receive significant raises. With just over two weeks until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, all but one player's contract is resolved.
The latest case to be settled is closer Zach Britton, who agreed to a $3.2 million deal to avoid arbitration, according to an industry source. The deal also includes up to $500,000 in performance and award bonuses.
Britton, who turned 27 last month, converted 37 of 41 save opportunities in his first season as closer, posting a 3-2 record and 1.65 ERA.
He entered last spring fighting for a roster spot, made the club as a reliever and took over the closer role in May.
Britton made just $521,500 last season. He is in his first year of arbitration eligibility as a Super 2 qualifier.
The sides agreed to a deal exactly midway between the figures they exchanged. Britton filed at $4.2 million while the Orioles filed at $2.2 million.
Britton can make $50,000 for making saving 40 games and another $50,000 for 45 games. He can make an additional $75,000 for saving 50 games, then another $50,000 for 55 games and an additional $75,000 for 60 games.
The deal also includes up to $200,000 in award bonuses. He would make $50,000 if he wins a Gold Glove or makes the All-Star team and would net $100,000 if he wins the Rivera/Hoffman Award, which goes to the best reliever in each league, or $50,000 if he places second or third in the voting.
Britton's settlement leaves outfielder Alejandro De Aza as the only remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible player. De Aza and the Orioles are just $650,000 apart; he filed at $5.65 million with the Orioles countering at $5 million.
If the sides don't come to an agreement before hearings this month in St. Petersburg, Fla., a three-person arbitration panel will listen to both arguments and choose one of the two submitted salaries.
The Orioles have been extremely successful over the years in winning arbitration hearings. The club has lost just once since Peter G. Angelos bought the team in 1993, and is 7-0 when its case is led by current general counsel H. Russell Smouse.