Roundup: Arbitration looms for some clubs

Spring Training may be fast approaching, but some clubs still have some important business to take care of with pending arbitration cases in the pipeline.
Next Tuesday, clubs will exchange numbers with arbitration-eligible players leading up to the actual hearings next month. Since it’s fairly rare for clubs and players to go all the way through arbitration, there figures to be a good number of agreements in the coming days. 
A few teams avoided arbitration on Wednesday, as the Cubs inked Koyie Hill to a one-year deal and the Tigers signed left fielder Ryan Raburn to a two-year deal. Raburn, 29, has played a sort of super utility role for Detroit in recent years, but he appears in line to grab a lot of the playing time in left field this season, according to MLB.com’s Jason Beck. 
The 31-year-old Hill agreed to a contract worth $850,000, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reported on Wednesday. Hill started 60 games for the Cubs last season and batted .214 with 13 doubles. 

- – The Angels agreed to terms on a 2011 contract with catcher Jeff Mathis, thus avoiding arbitration.
 

Mathis, 27, spent his third full season with the Angels in 2010, batting .195 with 19 runs scored, six doubles, one triple, 3 home runs and 18 RBI in 68 games played. After missing 55 games because of broken wrist, Mathis put together a 13-game hit streak from April 5 – June 22, matching the longest streak by an Angel last season.
 
Mathis is the second Angel to agree to terms and avoid arbitration, leaving the Angels with six remaining arbitration-eligible players (Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, Kendry Morales, Mike Napoli, Jered Weaver and Reggie Willits).
 
- The Rockies avoided salary arbitration with right-handed reliever Matt Belisle on $2.35 million, according to SI.com. After spending the first five years of his Major League career with the Reds, the 30-year-old Belisle had a career season in his second campaign with the Rockies in 2010. He posted a 2.93 ERA in a career-high relief 76 appearances, averaging 8.9 strikeouts ever nine innings, posting a 7-5 record.
 
- The Royals erased one potential salary arbitration case, signing right-hander Luke Hochevar to a one-year contract. Hochevar, who figures to be the staff ace, had his 2010 season interrupted by a strain in his right elbow, which restricted him to a 6-6 record and 4.81 ERA over 18 games (17 starts).

In addition the latest arbitration news, here’s a look around the rest of the league on Wednesday:

 
- Even after adding Cliff Lee, the Phillies could be looking for even more pitching insurance. The Phils have talked to starter John Maine about joining their already deep staff, ESPN New York.com reported on Wednesday, citing Maine’s agent, Rex Gary. 
- The Mets made their Minor League deal with left-handed reliever Taylor Tankersley official on Wednesday. Tankersley’s deal includes an invite to Spring Training. Tankersley, who will be 28 by Opening Day, could fill the Mets need for a lefty specialist.
- The Rays have agreed to terms with veteran right-hander Kyle Farnesworth, according to multiple media reports. A baseball source confirmed to MLB.com that a deal was “expected” at this point. The one-year deal will reportedly pay Farnesworth $3.25 million and includes a 2012 option.
- The Cubs also inked outfielder Reed Johnson to Minor League contract with a Spring Training invite on Wednesday. Johnson returns to the Cubs after a season with Dodgers and will battle for a roster spot this spring.
– Bailey Stephens

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