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Saturday, February 17, 2007
Cabrera's arbitration win is first for player this year

Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Miguel Cabrera became the first player to win in arbitration this year when the Florida Marlins' All-Star third baseman was awarded a $7.4 million salary on Saturday instead of the team's offer of $6.7 million.

Miguel Cabrera
Cabrera

Cabrera made $472,000 last year and was eligible for arbitration for the first time. He was second in the NL last season with a .339 batting average, and he had 26 homers and 114 RBIs.

The arbitration panel of Howard Block, Stephen Goldberg and Elliott Shriftman made the decision one day after hearing arguments in the case.

Cabrera received the third-highest salary in arbitration, trailing only the $10 million Alfonso Soriano earned after losing to Washington last year and the $8.2 million Andruw Jones got when he defeated Atlanta in 2001.

Cabrera was ecstatic with the ruling, said his agent, Fernando Cuza.

"We were confident going in," Cuza said. "You never know how the arbitrator is actually going to rule, but we felt good about it."

Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest said the team budgeted for the decision to go either way.

"You're talking about a guy who's up in the top of his class," Beinfest said. "We thought our filing number was indicative of that, and obviously the arbitrators thought otherwise. It was a lot of money either way for a great player."

Beinfest and team president David Samson criticized Cabrera last week for missing offseason team promotional events. Despite those comments and the five-hour arbitration hearing, Beinfest said there are no hard feelings between the organization and Cabrera.

"I have a good relationship with Miguel," Beinfest said. "I don't believe there's any bad blood at all."

Cuza agreed, although he said Cabrera was surprised by the criticism stemming from his absence.

"He was disappointed they brought it up," Cuza said. "He didn't attend prior years, and they never brought it up publicly before."

Cabrera has said he missed the events because a family commitment kept him in Venezuela. He plans to report to spring training Monday in Jupiter, Fla., Cuza said.

Owners had been 4-0 in arbitration this year, with the Los Angeles Dodgers' Joe Beimel, Florida's Kevin Gregg, Washington's John Patterson and Tampa Bay's Josh Paul all losing.

Three players remain scheduled for hearings next week: Washington's Chad Cordero, San Diego's Todd Walker and Chicago Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano.

Baltimore and pitcher Erik Bedard agreed Saturday to a $3.4 million, one-year contract. Bedard can earn an additional $100,000 in performance bonuses: $25,000 each for 175, 185, 195 and 200 innings pitched.