Bedard, Orioles agree to $3.4 million, 1-year contract, avoid arbitration

Updated: February 17, 2007, 2:19 PM ET
Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Pitcher Erik Bedard avoided arbitration with the Baltimore Orioles, agreeing Saturday to a $3.4 million, one-year contract.

Bedard had asked for $4 million in arbitration and the Orioles had offered $2.7 million. The left-hander went 15-11 with a 3.76 ERA in 33 starts last season, when he earned $1,625,000.

Along with his base salary, Bedard can earn $100,000 in performance bonuses: $25,000 each for 175, 185, 195 and 200 innings pitched.

After a season in which Bedard set career highs in wins, innings (196 1-3), starts and strikeouts (171), Baltimore conceded he deserved a significant raise.

"We feel that he's got that now and we can put this all behind us," executive vice president Mike Flanagan said. "We feel like it is certainly a good deal for the player and we're happy to get through this process."

The case had been scheduled to be heard Tuesday. Bedard was the last player on the team eligible for arbitration.

Bedard, who turns 28 on March 6, heard that arbitration can create hard feelings because the team usually lists reasons why the player doesn't deserve the money he's asking.

"Yeah, everybody has talked to me about it. It would have been fun to experience it just to see how it is," Bedard said. "Obviously you are not going to take everything seriously. But some things I am sure they would have said would have stuck forever. That's hard to forget. But we didn't go through that process and I'm happy for it."

So are the Orioles.

"Erik's happy and it sounds like both sides may have come to a nice conclusion. I think that helps out -- mentally -- for everybody," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "I think Erik's a pretty smart kid. I think he's mature enough that he wasn't going to let anything bother him, anyway."

Bedard was 12-18 lifetime in the majors before enjoying a career season last year, which goes a long way toward explaining the unusual $1.3 million gap between each side's request.

"He's been a pretty unique case," Flanagan said. "I think we ended up in the right spot."

So did Bedard, who will more than double his salary in 2007.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet. I guess at the end of the year, when I've played the whole year and made the $3.4 million, maybe Ill feel more secure," he said. "But I don't know, it's not a big deal."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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