One-year deals for Buster Posey, Hunter Pence highlight arbitration deadline day

Mark Townsend

Friday was arbitration deadline day around baseball, which means teams, agents and arbitration eligible players had until 1 p.m. ET to exchange salary figures to be used in the event the sides can’t reach an agreement before hearings begin in February.

Of course an agreement doesn’t necessarily need to be reached today to avoid a hearing. A contract can be signed at any time between now and their scheduled date, but it’s often the point where all parties decide they’re tired of the process and are ready to iron out a short-term deal.

Now, we freely admit it’s not what you'd call a thrilling 24-48 hour period as the headlines and figures tend to get a repetitive and the signings are just formalities since the players remain under team control, but it’s in an active time and it can be interesting to see how certain players are valued.

So it's with that said that we give you a little breakdown on some of the most significant deals — whether they're the biggest names, best bargains or otherwise notable — that were struck.

The big names

• Buster Posey: one-year, $8 million with San Francisco Giants

In his first year of arbitration, reigning National League MVP and two-time World Series champion Buster Posey received a hefty pay raise, going from $615,000 to $8 million. Despite his accolades, that’s a higher figure than most were expecting, but it’s likely this is just a precursor to an extension as the two sides are expected to begin negotiations soon. He’s under Giants control through 2016 regardless of that outcome.

• Hunter Pence: one-year, $13.8 million with San Francisco Giants

And the award for highest arbitration salary goes to...

Not bad for a guy many thought would be non-tendered after posting a .253 average and .425 slugging percentage in 2012. That's probably the way the Giants should have gone, too, considering Pence earned a cool $10.4 million last season. They knew he'd receive a raise, because that's how the system works, and now they're stuck paying him above his likely value on the open market. But I guess it's not the worst scenario since it's only a one-year agreement.

• Matt Garza: one-year, $10.25 million with Chicago Cubs

The 29-year-old right-hander has been the subject of trade rumors pretty much dating back to Opening Day of last season, and maybe even before, but has so far stayed put in Chicago. That probably won't be the case when this year's trade deadline comes around as he's finally set to hit the open market next winter.

• Jacoby Ellsbury: one-year, $9 million with Boston Red Sox

After a breakout campaign in 2011 that nearly won him an MVP award, Ellsbury was limited to 74 games in 2012 due to shoulder and lat injuries. That results in only a modest raise from his $8.05 million salary. He'll reach free agency for the first time after 2013, and it's said the Red Sox are open to trading Ellsbury after adding Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes during the offseason.

Best bargains

• Doug Fister: one-year, $4 million with Detroit Tigers

For some reason it feels like Fister has been around for seven or eight years now, but he's actually a first time arbitration eligible player this winter. The 28-year-old right-hander has been very solid over parts of four seasons, and has posted 2.83 and 3.45 ERAs in back-to-back full seasons. He'll return to Detroit as a cornerstone of their rotation and stands a good chance for a big raise next winter.

• Jason Heyward: one-year, $3.65 million with Atlanta Braves

Another first timer in arbitration, Heyward settles for a very reasonable figure after cracking 27 home runs and stealing 21 bases in 2012. He's a big time superstar in the making. obviously, and it's likely the Braves will explore a long-term deal as his salary in arbitration will only sky rocket from here.

Jonny Venters, 1.625 million, would also qualify as a nice little bargain for Atlanta.

Other notable signings

• Ian Kennedy: one-year, $4.26 million with Arizona Diamondbacks

According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, Kennedy's settlement is only $85,000 short of the record for first time eligible pitchers. Only David Price and Dontrelle Willis earned more.

• Neftali Feliz: one-year, $2.9 million with Texas Rangers

Feliz played catch for the first time on Friday since undergoing Tommy John surgery in August. He should be able to pitch sometime late in 2013, but clearly won't be near full strength until 2014.

• Matt Wieters: one-year, $5.5 million with Baltimore Orioles

It's no secret Wieters is interested in a long-term deal with Baltimore, and the sooner the Orioles get that taken care of the better for them. He's another first time eligible player who has set the salary bar high in his initial go round.

• Phil Hughes: one-year $7.15 million, and Joba Chamberlain: one-year, $1.875 million with New York Yankees

It's the final year for Hughes, who can enter free agency after the season. He earned 3.2 million in 2012. Meanwhile, this is a huge season for Chamberlain, who has only appeared in 49 games over the past two seasons after Tommy John surgery in 2011 and suffering a dislocated ankle last season.

We're still awaiting resolutions on key players such as Chase Headley, Sergio Romo and Mat Latos, and those certainly may not come in today. But this really only scratches the surface of activity that we've seen over the past couple days. To catch up or stay up to date, you can check out the complete rundown by jumping over to SB Nation.

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