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Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Jason Vargas, Mariners agree to deal

Associated Press

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners agreed to one-year contracts with All-Star closer Brandon League, starter Jason Vargas and reliever Shawn Kelley on Tuesday, avoiding arbitration with all three pitchers.

League got a $5 million deal, Vargas agreed at $4.85 million and Kelley received $600,000.

Vargas made a career-high 32 starts in 2011, going 10-13 with a 4.25 ERA while earning $2.6 million. He started the season strong and was 6-5 with a 3.57 ERA through his first 17 starts, capped by a shutout against San Diego on July 1. But the left-hander dropped his next five decisions, although he was given very little run support. Vargas did close the season with three straight victories.

Vargas has spent the last three seasons with Seattle. He is 22-31 with a 4.19 ERA in 86 games, 77 starts, since joining the Mariners in 2009. With the departure of Michael Pineda to the New York Yankees via trade, Vargas is likely to be the No. 2 starter in Seattle's rotation when the season begins.

League assumed the closer role full-time for the Mariners in 2011, was selected to the All-Star team and finished the year with 37 saves. He appeared in 65 games and went 1-5 with a 2.79 ERA while earning $2,425,000.

Kelley missed most of last season after having partial Tommy John surgery during the 2010 season. He appeared in 10 major league games and gave up no runs and seven hits in 12 2-3 innings. In the minors, Kelley was 1-1 with a 1.53 ERA in 15 starts.