Orioles present arbitration figures

Club continues talks on Roberts extension

January 17, 2007|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporter

The Orioles submitted arbitration figures to the commissioner's office before yesterday's deadline for their three eligible players, including second baseman Brian Roberts, whom the club still hopes to sign to a contract extension.

Orioles vice president Jim Duquette declined to elaborate on the negotiations with Roberts.

Roberts, who hit .286 last season with 10 home runs, 55 RBIs and 36 steals, is under the Orioles' contractual control for the next two seasons, but the organization would like to buy out at least one year of his free agency and avoid arbitration this year and the next by signing him through 2009.

However, if they are unable to agree on a longer-term deal, they might have to settle on a one-year agreement or go to arbitration. Roberts has asked for $4.6 million in 2007, and the Orioles countered with a $3.8 million offer. The second baseman had a base salary of $3.075 million last season.

Starting pitcher Erik Bedard, who won a team-high 15 games last season, wants $4 million, while the Orioles are offering $2.7 million. He made $1.4 million in 2006.

Center fielder Corey Patterson is looking for $4.6 million, and the Orioles are offering $4 million. Patterson, who is one year away from free agency, hit .276 with 16 homers, 53 RBIs and 45 steals in 2006 while making $2.8 million.

If the cases remain unsettled - negotiations can continue until the day they are heard - an arbitrator will rule on them during the first three weeks of February.

The Orioles have traditionally avoided arbitration since Peter Angelos took over ownership in 1993, reaching that point only nine times. They have won eight of those cases, losing only to pitcher Ben McDonald in 1995.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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