Host of players file for arbitration

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) -- On the day baseball owners hate most, 90 players filed for salary arbitration Tuesday, a group that includes Scott Rolen, Jorge Posada and Darin Erstad.

Players and teams will exchange proposed salaries for one-year contracts on Friday. Unless the sides settle, the cases will be heard by three-person panels of arbitrators from Feb. 4-21 in Tampa, Fla.

Three players agreed to one-year deals Tuesday instead of filing: Cincinnati right-hander Danny Graves ($3,525,000), Detroit utilityman Robert Fick ($1.15 million) and Los Angeles shortstop Alex Cora ($625,000).

Most of the players who filed for arbitration will agree to contracts before hearings. Outfielder Jermaine Dye and Oakland were said to be close on a three-year contract worth $30 million or more.

The New York Yankees were said to closing in on a contract with Posada, their starting catcher, although a baseball official familiar with the talks, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they were just preliminary.

In addition to those who filed Tuesday, two Seattle Mariners who had been free agents are in arbitration: second baseman Bret Boone and third baseman David Bell. The Mariners made arbitration offers to them on Dec. 7, and the players accepted 12 days later.

Rolen, who is eligible for free agency after the season, is expected to ask for the most among the 90 players who filed Tuesday. The third baseman told the Phillies he doesn't want to negotiate a multiyear contract, and the team explored trades during the winter meetings.

Owners of small- and mid-market teams hate arbitration because it forces them to pay players of comparable talent as much as big-market teams do.

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