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Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Bedard, Heilman agree with M's

Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Erik Bedard and the Seattle Mariners agreed Tuesday on a $7.75 million, one-year contract that gave him a raise of $750,000 and avoided salary arbitration.

Hours after Bedard's deal was completed, reliever Aaron Heilman and the Mariners finalized a one-year contract worth $1,625,000. Seattle also acquired reliever David Aardsma from Boston for minor league lefty Fabian Williamson.

Bedard
Bedard

The moves came one day after right-hander Felix Hernandez got a $3.8 million, one-year contract, so Seattle did not have a player go to an arbitration hearing for the sixth consecutive year.

"It is good to settle all these negotiations and head into spring training focused on working hard and getting prepared for the 2009 season," first-time general manager Jack Zduriencik said.

Bedard, eligible for free agency after the 2009 season, is recovering from surgery on his pitching shoulder in September. He went 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 15 starts in his abbreviated first season with the Mariners.

Bedard's raise could total more than $1.3 million if he stays healthy in 2009. Bedard, who turns 30 in March, can make $600,000 in performance bonuses: $75,000 for 150 innings, $100,000 for 165 innings, $150,000 for 180 innings, $125,000 for 195 innings and $150,000 for 205 innings.

The team expects the left-hander to be ready for its first workouts for pitchers and catchers at spring training on Feb. 13.

"All our reports this winter are that his rehabilitation is going very well," Zduriencik said. "We are excited to see a healthy pitcher take the hill this season."

Seattle acquired Heilman last month from the Mets as part of the 12-player, three-team trade that sent former Mariners closer J.J. Putz to New York. The 30-year-old Heilman was 3-8 with a 5.21 ERA in 78 appearances in 2008.

"Aaron is a very versatile pitcher and is an important part of our pitching staff in 2009," Zduriencik said.

Aardsma adds depth to an unsettled bullpen. The 27-year-old right-hander pitched in a career-high 47 games for the Red Sox last season, going 4-2 with a 5.55 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings. A strained right groin put him on the disabled list twice.

"Adding David to our roster gives us another quality bullpen arm," Zduriencik said. "He has over three years of major league experience and is a former first-round draft pick. We are excited to give him the opportunity to help bolster our bullpen."

The 20-year-old Williamson was 4-3 with a 4.10 ERA and 67 strikeouts for Class-A Pulaski.