Touch 'Em All: Baseball likely to pitch salary arbitration shutout

Boston's Shane Victorino says he looks forward to playing at Fenway Park.    CHRIS O'MEARA / Associated Press
Boston's Shane Victorino says he looks forward to playing at Fenway Park.    CHRIS O'MEARA / Associated Press (CHRIS O'MEARA / Associated Press)
Posted: February 18, 2013

There's big baseball news for those of you who follow the sport eager for stories about people in suits arguing in conference rooms over dollar amounts most of us see only in piles of play money.

Yeah, you three.

Baseball looks likely to complete its first-ever salary arbitration shutout.

On Saturday, Cincinnati pitcher Homer Bailey and the Reds agreed to a one-year, $5.35 million contract, and San Diego lefthander Clayton Richard and the Padres settled on a one-year, $5.24 million deal.

This makes it a mortal lock that there will be no salary arbitration hearings this year for the first time since the process began in 1974 - arbitration was suspended for 1976 and 1977 while free agency was put in place.

No cases have been argued before the three-person panels, although 133 players filed for arbitration last month. Only Darren O'Day remains scheduled for a hearing next week - and the reliever and the Baltimore Orioles already have an agreement on a two-year, $5.8 million deal with just a physical pending.

Yes, arbitration season is over. Make your plans for the parade. (It will likely be held on Wall Street.)

The owners lead the players, 291-214, in the money-argument series.

Ready to fly. Our old pal Shane Victorino has said he preferred a return to the Phillies this season. But now that he's with the Red Sox, he's looking for a new beginning in Beantown.

Dealt from the Phils to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July, he wound up hitting .255 - 20 points below his career average - with 11 homers and 39 RBIs.

"There was a lot on my plate," the famously hyperactive slugger said. "There were things you can't control. And I try to control those kinds of things."

The 32-year-old outfielder became a free agent after the season and signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Red Sox, a team coming off a 93-loss, last-place season. (The equivalent of a megaton meteor figuratively hitting Sawks Nation.)

"People talk about the storied franchise, talk about the history behind that ballpark, when I was there doing that press conference, [I] just started getting that adrenaline rush, [and it] started to really hit home that this is going to be called home for me the next three years," he said. "I'm excited. I'm going to go out there and give 100 percent, and I'm going to let the fans make the decision on falling in love or not."

Our money is on the Flyin' Hawaiian quickly winning over the Fenway faithful.

Jeter (almost) back. New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, last seen being helped off the field with a broken ankle in the AL Championship Series opener against Detroit, is happy the offseason is over.

He called the winter "absolutely terrible."

"I was stuck on the couch for a good five, six weeks where I couldn't really move around too much," he said. "I had a little scooter to move around. It was not fun."

He has a plate screwed into the ankle, and expects it will stay there. But the 38-year-old future Hall-of-Famer, who said he basically had to learn to walk again, expects to be ready for opening day against Boston on April 1. Manager Joe Girardi said the 13-time all-star will likely DH in spring training games.

Of third baseman Alex Rodriguez, rehabbing in New York after hip surgery, Jeter said, "It's going to be odd that's he not here."


Contact Michael Harrington at mharrington@phillynews.com.

This article contains information from the Associated Press.

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