Ortiz, K-Rod, Johnson accept arbitration

DALLAS (AP) Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz(notes), Milwaukee reliever Francisco Rodriguez and Toronto second baseman Kelly Johnson(notes) have accepted salary arbitration offers from their former teams.

The three are considered signed players for 2012 following Wednesday night’s decisions.

The 36-year-old Ortiz has been with Boston since 2003. He hit .309 last season with 29 homers and 96 RBIs, making $12.65 million in the option year of a contract that paid him $63,225,000 over five seasons.

K-Rod, who turns 30 next month, had 23 saves in 26 chances for the New York Mets during the first half of last season, then was traded to the Brewers during the All-Star break and didn’t get another save. He served as a setup man for closer John Axford(notes).

Rodriguez had an $11.5 million salary last season, completing a three-year contract that paid him $38.1 million.

Agent Scott Boras said that accepting arbitration didn’t necessarily mean Rodriguez would be with Milwaukee on opening day, an indication that the Brewers might try to trade the reliever to a team where he could close.

Johnson, who made $5.85 million last season, was acquired from Arizona in late August for Aaron Hill(notes) and John McDonald(notes). The 29-year-old Johnson hit a combined .222 with 21 home runs and 58 RBIs.

Among the 26 players offered arbitration on Nov. 23, several have agreed to contracts. Miami announced agreements with shortstop Jose Reyes(notes) and closer Heath Bell(notes), the Chicago Cubs struck a contract with outfielder David DeJesus(notes), and there are unannounced deals for pitchers Mark Buehrle(notes) (Marlins), Freddy Garcia(notes) (Yankees), and Frank Francisco(notes) and Jon Rauch(notes) (Mets). In addition, pitcher Aaron Harang(notes) is close to an agreement with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This is the last offseason with the current rules, which give teams a chance to offer salary arbitration to their former players who became free agents. Starting next fall, under baseball’s new labor contract, teams can make a qualifying offer to free agents following the World Series of the average for the 125 highest contracts by average annual value, which currently is about $12.4 million.


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Updated Thursday, Dec 8, 2011