As expected, the Orioles offered contracts to their 11 arbitration-eligible players before Tuesday night's tender deadline.
The club extended offers to Zach Britton, Chris Davis, Alejandro De Aza, Ryan Flaherty, Miguel Gonzalez, Tommy Hunter, Brian Matusz, Bud Norris, Steve Pearce, Chris Tillman and Matt Wieters.
"At the end of the day, each and every one of those players had pretty good years and they made contributions to the 2014 Orioles and they're at the age where they should be able to make another contribution to the 2015 Orioles," Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said. "There are some talented players in this group. … They all contributed."
The players will exchange salary figures with the Orioles next month. In most cases, the team and player come to an agreement somewhere in between those figures, but if no agreement is reached, they also have the right to have their salaries determined by a panel of arbitrators in February.
But that is rare. The last Orioles player to go to an arbitration hearing was right-hander Brad Bergesen before the 2012 season, a case won by the Orioles, who are 7-0 in arbitration cases led by club general counsel H. Russell Smouse.
Heading into Tuesday's deadline, it was expected the Orioles would offer contracts to all 11 players, despite the prospect of several receiving significant raises through the arbitration process.
It was by far less eventful than last year's deadline, when the Orioles traded closer Jim Johnson to the Oakland Athletics just before the 11:59 p.m. deadline.
Britton, Flaherty, Gonzalez and Tillman are all first-time arbitration-eligible players and Davis, Norris, Hunter and Wieters figure to receive considerable raises in their last year of arbitration eligibility.
Even though they are not yet signed, the 11 players are under team control, so they can be used as trade chips during the offseason. Two offseasons ago, the Orioles dealt right-hander Jeremy Guthrie to the Rockies before the sides agreed to a deal. He had an arbitration hearing set, but agreed to terms with the Rockies following the trade.
Any question about whether the Orioles would tender Davis a contract after he made $10.35 million this past season while hitting .196 and serving a 25-game suspension for a failed amphetamine test was answered. The team appears ready to give him a raise and hope for a rebound season before he hits the free-agent market after next season, especially with Nelson Cruz's power bat gone.
De Aza, who was acquired in a trade with the White Sox last season, made $4.25 million last season, but he played well with the Orioles and seems to have a more important role with Cruz gone and Nick Markakis' future with the team uncertain.
In recent weeks, the Orioles have two left-handed relievers – Scott Barnes and Pat McCoy -- to the 40-man roster, and acquiring a left-handed reliever to replace Andrew Miller had been an offseason priority.
Matusz earned $2.4 million last year and will get a raise, which could be pricey considering his diminished role down the stretch, but other teams could value Matusz if they consider him a starter.