PHOENIX – Like most teams, the Diamondbacks try to avoid salary arbitration, inasmuch as the hearings designed to set a player’s salary can turn into a critique rather than a positive dialogue.
So it came as no surprise that the D-backs reached agreement Friday on one-year contracts with third baseman Chris Johnson and pitchers Ian Kennedy, Brad Ziegler and Tony Sipp one day after the quartet filed for arbitration, an offseason formality for players who have between four and six years of major league experience.
With the signings, the D-backs have about $84 million in salary commitments in 2013. They have two arbitration-eligible players remaining: outfielder Gerardo Parra and shortstop Cliff Pennington.
Kennedy, 15-12 with a 4.04 ERA last season, will make $4.265 million this season, according to a CBS Sports report. He made $509,000 last season coming off a year in which he was 21-4 with a 2.80 ERA and a fourth-place finish in the NL Cy Young balloting. He has pitched at least 200 innings in each of the last two seasons, and his 36 victories are the most in the National League the last two seasons, one more than 2011 Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw. The D-backs mentioned the possibility of a long-term deal with Kennedy and Daniel Hudson last spring training, but nothing came of it.
Ziegler had arguably his best season in 2012, when he was 6-1 with a 2.49 ERA in 77 games. He worked his way from a situational specialist into a seventh-inning setup role the final half of the year. Ziegler will make $3.15 million this year, according to a major league source.
“I appreciate how respectful the front office is when they discuss my contract situation, and I love being part of this organization,” Ziegler said. ” It is always a strenuous process, because I try to be as educated and involved as I can. I’m definitely glad that it is over, and now it is just time to bear down and start preparing for April 1.”
Reliever Sipp, obtained from Cleveland in the three-team deal that also brought shortstop Didi Gregorius and first baseman Lars Anderson, is to make $1.275 million, according to Gulflive.com. Sipp was 11-7 with a 3.68 ERA in four seasons with the Indians.
“I feel good about it,” Sipp told the newspaper. “It’s one of those things where it was a number that was comfortable for both me and the club. They were mature about the conversation. Even my agent gave them praise as to how the process went.”
Johnson, acquired at the 2012 trade deadline, agreed to a deal worth $2.2875 million, which was a significant bump from the $424,000 he made last season. He was a nice addition to the D-backs’ offense the final two months of the season, hitting .286 with seven homers and 35 RBIs in 147 at-bats.
Parra filed for $2.7 million and the D-backs countered with an offer of $2.1 million, according to a CBS Sports report. Pennington filed for $2.8 million and the D-backs offered $1.8 million.