Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens and second baseman-turned-left fielder Martin Prado saw their salaries soar from below $500,000 to above $3 million after agreeing to one-year deals Tuesday and avoiding arbitration.
Relief pitchers Peter Moylan ($2 million) and Eric O’Flaherty ($895,000) also agreed to terms as the Braves again avoided going to hearings with any of their four arbitration-eligible players who had been unsigned.
If teams failed to reach settlements with players by Tuesday, salary figures were swapped and hearings would be scheduled during the first three weeks in February. As expected, Prado and Jurrjens got the biggest pay bumps for the Braves as first-time arbitration-eligible players, one a starting position player and the other a starting pitcher.
Prado, 27, an All-Star second baseman in his first season as a lineup regular in 2010, got a raise from $440,000 to $3.1 million in 2011. He hit .307 with 40 doubles and 15 homers in 2010, and is moving to left field to accommodate slugging second baseman Dan Uggla, acquired in a November trade from the Marlins.
The Braves recently signed Uggla to a five-year, $62 million contract extension that bought out his final year of arbitration and first four years of free agency.
Jurrjens got a bump from $480,000 to $3.25 million in 2011, a salary that would have been higher if not for a string of injuries that slowed him for much of the 2010 season. He was just 7-6 with a 4.64 ERA in 20 starts, after winning 27 games in his first two full seasons and posting the league’s third-best ERA (2.60) in 2009.
Jurrjens, who turns 25 on Jan. 29, can earn an additional $50,000 in performance incentives.
O’Flaherty was disabled for much of the second half of the season with mononucleosis, but the left-hander still doubled his $440,000 salary after posting a 2.45 ERA in 56 appearances.
Moylan, in his second time through arbitration, nearly doubled his $1.15 million from 2010, after going 6-2 with a 2.97 ERA in 85 appearances. He was 6-2 with a 2.84 ERA in 87 appearances in 2009.
The 32-year-old Aussie sidearmer has been one of the Braves’ most valuable relievers since being signed off the Australian team at the World Baseball Classic in 2006. Moylan has a 2.58 ERA in 274 appearances, including 80 or more appearances in each of his three healthy seasons (he missed most of 2008 for ligament-transplant elbow surgery).
– by David O’Brien, Braves blog