O's avoid arbitration with Hardy, Pie, Johnson

O's avoid arbitration with Hardy, Pie, Johnson

O's avoid arbitration with Hardy, Pie, Johnson
WASHINGTON -- The Orioles have agreed to terms on one-year deals with shortstop J.J. Hardy, outfielder Felix Pie and pitcher Jim Johnson, the club announced Tuesday.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Hardy will earn $5.85 million, Pie will make $985,000 and Johnson will receive $975,000.

Hardy, who was in his final year of arbitration, played for the Twins last season, hitting .268 with six home runs and 38 RBIs. Acquired from Minnesota on Dec. 9, Hardy earned $5.1 million in 2010. Part of a revamped infield with third baseman Mark Reynolds and first baseman Derrek Lee, Hardy was saddled with wrist and knee injuries in 2010.

Pie, who made $420,000 last year, missed the first half of last season with an upper back injury but put together a solid finish. In 82 games, the outfielder hit .274 with 15 doubles, five triples, five homers and 31 RBIs.

Johnson made $440,000 last season and was one of 20 players who achieved Super Two status this winter, meaning his Major League service time ranked in the highest 17 percent of players with less than the usual threshold of three years. Players with at least two years and 122 days of service were granted Super Two status this winter, which translated into a fourth year of arbitration eligibility instead of the usual three years. A player with three or more years of service, but less than six years, may file for salary arbitration under the usual rules.

Johnson went 1-1 with a 6.52 ERA over his first 9 2/3 innings before he was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk and later placed on the Minor League disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Given that his injury was believed to be suffered in the Orioles' Opening Day series, the team officially transferred him to the Major League DL on May 28. Johnson was activated prior to a series in Anaheim in late August. He pitched to a 1.62 ERA in his final 16 appearances.

The signing of Hardy, Pie and Johnson means pitcher Jeremy Guthrie and outfielder Luke Scott will most likely face the Orioles in arbitration.

The Orioles have a recent history of avoiding arbitration, although they came close to going to a potentially contentious hearing with Guthrie last year. Scott, who is arbitration-eligible for the third time, avoided arbitration last January by signing a one-year, $4.05 million contract. Guthrie's case wasn't resolved until several days before his scheduled hearing, as the two sides agreed to a $3 million contract for 2010 on Feb. 12, just prior to the spring report date for pitchers and catchers.

In his second year of being arbitration-eligible, Guthrie went 11-14 with a 3.83 ERA in 32 starts in 2010, and he -- like Scott -- will command another pay raise for this season. Guthrie proposed a salary of $6.5 million for 2011, while the O's countered with a $5 million offer. The 31-year-old was the ace who anchored the Orioles' rotation, particularly in the second half, when he went 8-4 with a 2.76 ERA in his final 14 starts.

Meanwhile, Scott, voted the Most Valuable Oriole by the local media, hit a career-high 27 home runs and totaled 72 RBIs in 131 games. He proposed a salary of $6.85 million, with Baltimore offering $5.7 million. A streaky hitter most of his career, Scott put together a solid 4 1/2-month stretch and finished with a .284 batting average and a .535 slugging percentage.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.