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Posey, Pence, Ellsbury among 81 to strike deals

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Posey, Pence, Ellsbury among 81 to strike deals

NEW YORK (AP) NL MVP Buster Posey agreed to an $8 million, one-year contract with the San Francisco Giants, teammate Hunter Pence got a $13.8 million deal and Jacoby Ellsbury settled with the Boston Red Sox for $9 million on a busy Friday as players and teams swapped figures in salary arbitration.

Eighty-one players reached agreements, leaving just 36 headed toward hearings next month in Phoenix from among the 133 who filed for arbitration Tuesday. Most of the cases are expected to settle.

San Diego third baseman Chase Headley had the largest request and the biggest spread, asking for $10.3 million while the Padres offered $7,075,000.

Boston reliever Craig Breslow had the slimmest gap. He sought $2,375,000 - that was $50,000 more than the Red Sox offered.

Teams won five of seven cases decided by three-arbitrator panels last winter, their 14th winning record in 16 years. Overall, owners lead 291-214 since arbitration began in 1974.

Posey was eligible for arbitration for the first time after hitting a National League-leading .336 with 24 homers and 103 RBIs and helping the Giants win their second World Series title in three seasons. Posey, who made $615,000 last year, cannot become a free agent until after the 2016 World Series.

Obtained by San Francisco from Philadelphia on July 31, Pence can become a free agent this fall, as can Ellsbury.

Among those left in arbitration, Cincinnati has a major league-high six players remaining. Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, acquired from Cleveland last month, asked for a raise from $4.9 million to $8 million, while the Reds offered $6.75 million. Right-hander Homer Bailey asked to be increased from $2.5 million to $5.8 million and was offered $4.75 million.

Mat Latos, eligible for arbitration for the first time, asked for a raise from $550,000 to $4.7 million after going 14-4 in his first season with the Reds. Cincinnati offered $4.15 million. The other Reds still in arbitration are pitchers Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon and outfielder Chris Heisey.

Two interesting settlements involved Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jason Vargas ($8.5 million) and Seattle Mariners first baseman-designated hitter Kendrys Morales ($5.25 million), who were swapped for each other last month.

Also reaching agreements were Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters ($5.5 million), Milwaukee closer John Axford ($5 million) and Atlanta outfielder Jason Heyward ($3.65 million).

Only two players got multiyear deals Friday. Toronto catcher Josh Thole, acquired from the New York Mets in the R.A. Dickey trade, got a $2.5 million, two-year contract, and Washington reliever Craig Stammen agreed to a $2,225,000, two-year deal.

The high-spending Los Angeles Dodgers settled with catcher A.J. Ellis ($2 million) and right-hander Ronald Belisario ($1.45 million). That raised the Dodgers' projected payroll to $214.2 million after an adjustment for cash received this year as part of last summer's trade with the Boston Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett.

Five players settled after the exchange of figures, with Boston and reliever Alfredo Aceves agreeing to a deal at the $2.65 million midpoint. Posey, Vargas, Washington reliever Tyler Clippard ($4 million) and Detroit reliever Phil Coke ($1.85 million) submitted the same figures as their teams, an indication they reached agreement shortly before the exchange and didn't finalize them until after the swap.

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Indians-Tigers rainout could complicate Orioles life

Indians-Tigers rainout could complicate Orioles life

After waiting four hours and 13 minutes, the Detroit Tigers’ scheduled game with Cleveland was rained out. Six inches of rain fell at Comerica Field, making it unplayable. 

The Tigers and Indians will have to play on Monday if the wild-card race is undecided. 

That’s not good news for the Orioles. If the Orioles and Detroit tie, a game will then have to played at Oriole Park to decide the second wild-card team, complicating the postseason schedule. 

The Tigers have three games at Atlanta while the Orioles play three at Yankee Stadium. If the Indians-Tigers game is necessary on Monday, the Orioles may have to come back to Baltimore to await the result. 

Of course, the Orioles could make it necessary by winning the final four games of the season, beginning with tonight’s game in Toronto. 

If Orioles win and Tigers losses combine for four, then Detroit is eliminated. 

Seattle, which trails by two games, plays four with Oakland. 

Potentially worse news for the Orioles is that this weekend’s weather forecast in New York is horrible. 

The wild-card game is scheduled for Tuesday, and the Division Series is scheduled for Thursday, so a tiebreaker game between the Orioles and Tigers could certainly complicate things.  

RELATED: Hyun Soo Kim provides biggest hit of Orioles' season

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Hyun Soo Kim provides biggest hit of this Orioles season

Hyun Soo Kim provides biggest hit of this Orioles season

Hyun Soo Kim knew he could play in the major leagues. Even after going hitless in his first 23 at-bats in spring training. Even after the Orioles wanted him to start the season at Norfolk, which he wasn’t contractually obligated to do, Kim stayed with the team and endured the indignity of being booed on Opening Day.

In the season’s first month, Kim started only four games, and while he had a .600 average, there was still widespread skepticism about his ability. 

After what could turn out to be the biggest hit in this Orioles season, the skepticism should be gone. 

Kim is 6-for-9 as a pinch hitter, one of only four active major leaguers to begin their careers that well. He didn’t pinch hit in South Korea. Kim played all the time, and though his playing time hasn’t been as regular in September, he’s the trust of his manager. 

His RBIs have been few and far between, but Kim provides something the Orioles offense doesn’t display much of: On-base ability. 

Kim’s on-base percentage of .382 is by far the Orioles’ highest, and his .810 OPS, is higher than all his teammates except for Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez. 

He’s even begun displaying power. His two-run home run on Sunday accounted for the Orioles’ only runs, and his two-run pinch hit home run on Wednesday night was a work of art. 

Fouling off four pitches, Kim waited for one he could handle and sent it into the Orioles’ bullpen for a 3-2 lead. 

Kim has six home runs, and with the knowledge he’s gained from playing here, he should do even better next year. 

He hopes there are many more games to play before next year. 

RELATED: Why are the Orioles firmly in the race? It's the pitching