The Seattle Mariners reached one-year deals with a trio of pitchers, avoiding arbitration with closer David Aardsma, reliever Brandon League and left-hander Jason Vargas.
The Mariners announced the deals on Tuesday, leaving them with their entire roster under contract for the 2011 season.
Aardsma, 29, will get $4.5 million after posting 69 saves over the past two seasons. His 31 saves last year were seventh in the American League.
League, 27, will get $2.25 million. He went 9-7 in 2010 with a 3.42 ERA and led AL relievers in wins.
Vargas, 27, went 9-12 and set career highs in 2010 in wins, innings (1922/3) and starts (31). He’ll get $2.45 million.
EX-MARINER MECHE RETIRES AT AGE 32
Kansas City Royals pitcher Gil Meche retired, walking away from a $12 million salary rather than face shoulder surgery that could have ended his season before it ever started.
Meche, 32, signed a $55 million, five-year deal with Kansas City as a free agent before the 2007 season after spending his first six seasons with the Mariners. The right-hander had shoulder problems last year while going 0-5 with a 5.69 ERA.
There was a chance Meche could undergo surgery and come back in the bullpen. There was no guarantee, however, that he would be able to pitch at all in 2011.
“I didn’t want to go try it again for another season and be the guy making $12 million doing absolutely nothing to help their team,” Meche said. “Yeah, a lot of people might think I’m crazy for not trying to play and making this amount of money. I don’t think I’m ever going to regret it.”
Meche’s decision drew a predictable reaction from some of his friends.
“I told a lot of people, the first comment when they heard this come from my mouth was, ‘$12 million,’ ” he said. “My first reaction is, I’m not a guy who’s going to sit here and play baseball for the money. I know you hear a lot of athletes say, ‘It’s not for the money, it’s not for the money.’ Actually, it wasn’t.
“And hopefully this does show a lot of guys do feel the same as I do. Yeah, I’ve made a lot of money in my career and I know I’m financially good. My kids are good. That’s comforting for me. I’m not a guy who’s going to go and blow money. The money wasn’t ever, ever a factor in my decision.”
Meche retires with a 84-83 record in 10 seasons.
More than half of the 119 players who filed for salary arbitration reached agreements with their teams on one-year contracts.
Among the players avoiding arbitration were Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, Yankees pitchers Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson, Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden, Angels first baseman Kendry Morales and shortstop Erick Aybar, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones and Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
AL MVP Josh Hamilton of the Rangers and major league home run champion Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays were among the players to exchange proposed figures with their teams.
AROUND THE HORN
Prince Fielder agreed to a $15.5 million, one-year contract with the Brewers. The Yankees signed reliever Rafael Soriano to be Mariano Rivera’s set-up man. The Tigers designated pitcher Armando Galarraga for assignment and will try to trade him, general manager Dave Dombrowski said. Former Indians player, coach and manager Mike Hargrove has returned to Cleveland as a special adviser. He also managed the Mariners for 21/2 seasons before abruptly resigning on July 1, 2007.