By Tony Jackson
The Dodgers shaved their list of arbitration-eligible players to three on Tuesday by agreeing to terms with reliever Yhency Brazoban on a one-year contract. Financial details were not disclosed, but the deal is believed to carry a base salary of $540,000 with up to $120,000 in additional incentives based on appearances.
The hard-throwing Brazoban, who briefly served as the Dodgers’ closer in 2005 while Eric Gagne was injured, essentially missed the past two seasons with injuries of his own, making a grand total of nine appearances during that stretch. He underwent reconstructive elbow surgery in April 2006 and returned last May, but soon suffered a shoulder injury that required arthroscopic surgery and knocked him out for the rest of the year.
“Our hope is that he can return to what he was before he got hurt the first time, back to where he was in 2005 when he showed he had the ability to pitch late in games and occasionally close,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. “Whether or not he can do it, we’ll have to wait and see. At this point in the offseason, he is pain-free and continues to throw, and we expect him to be ready to go for spring training.”
If healthy, Brazoban likely will fill a sixth- or seventh-inning role.
Brazoban, 27, was arbitration-eligible for the first time after receiving $345,000 last season. He will receive an additional $25,000 for reaching 30 appearances, $35,000 each for reaching 40 and 50 appearances and another $25,000 for reaching 60.
The signing of Brazoban leaves fellow relievers Joe Beimel and Scott Proctor and outfielder Jason Repko as the Dodgers’ only remaining arbitration cases. Arbitration-eligible players will exchange salary proposals with their respective clubs later this week, but most of those players will avoid going to a hearing by settling on a compromise figure somewhere in between. For those players who do go to hearings, which will be held in early February, the arbitrator must choose either the club’s proposed figure or that of the player, with no leeway to choose a compromise figure in between.
By Tony Jackson