O's agree to contracts with three pitchers, Patterson

BALTIMORE -- Pitchers Erik Bedard, Bruce Chen and Todd Williams agreed to one-year contracts with the Baltimore Orioles along with outfielder Corey Patterson.

Chen set career marks in wins, starts, strikeouts and innings last season, going 13-10 with a 3.83 ERA in 34 games, including 32 starts. He struck out 133 in 197 1/3 innings.

The 28-year-old left-hander will receive a significant raise to $3.8 million in 2006. He can earn an extra $200,000 by pitching 200 innings and another $200,000 by making 33 starts.

"I'm happy the Orioles appreciate what I did last year. Now they've rewarded me with a very good contract," Chen said in a telephone call from Columbia, S.C. "I'm glad that the bonuses are reachable. It will help me stay focused."

Chen played with seven teams before coming to the Orioles in a May 2004 trade with Toronto. For the first time in his career, Chen has been given a sense of stability.

"I'm very grateful to the Orioles because they gave me an opportunity that no one else ever has," he said. "I'm just very happy with the contract, the team and the organization."

Bedard, 26, had an inconsistent 2005 season. He was 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA before going on the disabled list May 26 with a sprained knee ligament. The left-hander remained on the DL for eight weeks and struggled upon his return, finishing 6-8 with a 4.00 ERA in 24 starts.

Bedard will receive a base salary of $1.4 million in 2006. His contract includes bonuses based upon games and innings pitched.

Williams went 5-5 with a 3.30 ERA in 2005, his first full season in the majors during a 15-year professional career. He ranked eighth in the AL with 72 relief appearances, 54 of which were scoreless.

The right-hander joined the team in June 2004 as a minor-league free agent, but now he's a significant part of the bullpen. He will receive $775,000 in 2006.

Patterson, acquired on Jan. 9 from the Chicago Cubs, hit .215 with 13 homers in 126 games in 2005. He gets $2.8 million.

The Orioles have five remaining players in arbitration: Outfielders Jay Gibbons (asked $5.3 million and offered $4 million) and Luis Matos ($2 million and $1.3 million), right-handers Jorge Julio ($2.8 million and $2.3 million) and Rodrigo Lopez ($4.5 million and $3.75 million) and second baseman Brian Roberts ($3.6 million and $2.4 million).

In other news, left-hander Brian Burres cleared waivers and has been sent to Triple-A Ottawa. Burres, acquired on waivers from San Francisco on Jan. 6, will be invited to the Orioles' major-league spring training camp.