Scott avoids arbitration with Orioles

Scott avoids arbitration with Orioles

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles exchanged salary proposals with two players on Tuesday, but they'll only have to worry about preparing for one arbitration case. Baltimore has already agreed to terms with left fielder Luke Scott and with right fielder Nick Markakis, leaving just George Sherrill among the team's arbitration-eligible players.

The Orioles announced reaching a one-year deal worth $2.4 million with Scott earlier on Tuesday, and they're expected to announce a six-year contract extension worth $66 million for Markakis later in the week. They exchanged salary proposals with Markakis and his agent, though, and also moved forward with the preliminary stages of Sherrill's case.

Sherrill, who has nearly four years of service time, requested a $3.4 million salary and was offered $2.2 million by the Orioles. Those proposals leave a sizable chance of the two sides settling in the middle before the arbitrator's ruling, and either figure will represent a sizable raise for Sherrill, who made a $980,000 base salary last season.

Baltimore offered Markakis $2.9 million, and the player countered with a proposal for a one-year deal worth $5 million. Neither number is expected to stick, considering the widely reported extension. Markakis has signed a deal that will delay his first shot at free agency by three years, but the announcement is pending a physical examination.

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Sherrill served as Baltimore's closer last season and thrived in the first half, getting recognized as an All-Star for the first time. The southpaw had problems with shoulder inflammation down the stretch and is expected to be spelled next season by ex-closer Chris Ray, who's returning from ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow.

Scott, who was acquired as part of a five-player haul for Miguel Tejada last winter, was eligible for arbitration despite not yet having three full years of service. The veteran batted .257 with 23 home runs and 65 RBIs in his first season as an American League regular, and the Orioles expect him to slot in as the designated hitter next season.

That conclusion was reached recently, right after the Orioles acquired Felix Pie from the Cubs in exchange for southpaw Garrett Olson. Pie is expected to man left field, and Scott's shift will likely allow Aubrey Huff, who won the American League's Silver Slugger as a DH last season, to serve as Baltimore's everyday first baseman.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.