NEW YORK (AP) — Francisco Lindor, Kris Bryant, Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager were among 112 players who agreed to one-year contracts Friday, leaving just 13 to swap salary arbitration figures during a slow offseason in the aftermath of the financial carnage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The deals came on the deadline day for eligible players and teams to exchange proposed 2021 salaries.
Lindor, the star shortstop acquired last week by the New York Mets from Cleveland, got the largest of the deals at $22.3 million. The Mets hope to sign him to a long-term contract that would prevent him from becoming a free agent at the end of the season. Lindor says he does not want to extend talks past when he starts spring training next month.
Lindor's deal is the fourth-largest one-year contract for an arbitration-eligible player, trailing Mookie Betts ($27 million with Boston last year), Nolan Arenado ($26 million with Colorado in 2019) and Josh Donaldson ($23 million with Toronto in 2018).
Bryant agreed to $19.5 million with the Chicago Cubs. He, too, can become a free agent after the season, falling one day shy of eligibility at the end of the 2020 season. The third baseman lost a grievance last offseason that claimed the Cubs delayed his call-up as a rookie in 2015 to delay his free agency by a year.
Bellinger and Seager got big raises after helping the Los Angeles Dodgers win their first World Series title since 1988. Bellinger, an outfielder and first baseman, agreed to $16.1 million. Seager, MVP of the NL Championship Series and World Series, agreed to $13.75 million.
Other big money deals included Washington shortstop Trea Turner ($13 million), Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Báez ($11.65 million) and New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge ($10,175,000). who is coming off his second straight injury-wrecked season.
Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, eligible for arbitration for the first time, agreed to $8 million.
Among players poised for hearings, the most prominent is Houston shortstop Carlos Correa. He asked for a raise from $8 million to $12.5 million, and the Astros offered $9.75 million.
Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson was the only other player asking more than $5 million: He requested $6.75 million and was offered $6 million. Braves pitcher Mike Soroka asked for $2.8 million and was offered $2.1 million.
Cubs outfielder Ian Happ asked for $4.1 million and was offered $3.25 million,
Two members of the champion Dodgers remain set for hearings. Ace pitcher Walker Buehler asked for $4.15 million and was offered $3.3 million, and catcher Austin Barnes asked for $2 million and was offered $1.5 million.
Among the AL champion Rays, first baseman Ji-Man Choi asked for $2.45 million and was offered $1.85 million, and reliever Ryan Yarbrough asked for $3.1 million and was offered $2.3 million.
Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who slumped to .190 at the plate and pitched a total of 1 2/3 innings last season while coming off Tommy John surgery, asked for $3.3 million and was offered $2.5 million.
Also exchanging were New York Mets third baseman-outfielder J.D. Davis ($2,475,000 vs. $2.1 million), Baltimore outfielder Anthony Santander (also $2,475,000 vs. $2.1 million), St. Louis right-hander Jack Flaherty ($3.9 million vs. $3 million) and San Francisco second baseman Donovan Solano ($3.9 million vs. $3.25 million).
For players who don't settle, hearings before three-person remote panels will be scheduled for Feb. 1-19.
Waking up in a historically slow free agent market, the Yankees reached a deal with right-hander Corey Kluber worth $11 million for one year and agreed to a $90 million, six-year contract to keep AL batting champion DJ LeMahieu, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because each agreement is subject to a successful physical.
Kluber, the 2014 and 2017 AL Cy Young Award winner, won 56 games for Cleveland over the 2016-18 seasons, then missed the rest of the 2019 season after he was hit on the right forearm that May 1 by a comebacker off the bat of Miami’s Brian Anderson. Kluber finished 2-3 with a 5.80 ERA in seven starts.
Traded after the season to Texas, Kluber tore a muscle in his right shoulder in his Rangers debut on July 26, ending his season after one inning. The injury did not require surgery, and he held a workout for scouts on Wednesday.
Kluber, who turns 35 on April 10, is a three-time All-Star who is 98-58 with a 3.16 ERA in 10 seasons, the first nine with the Indians.
He joins a rotation headed by Gerrit Cole that also includes Deivi García, left-hander Jordan Montgomery and, at some point, Luis Severino when he returns from Tommy John surgery last Feb. 27. It is not clear whether the Yankees will re-sign Masahiro Tanaka, who became a free agent. In addition, Domingo Germán is expected back from a domestic violence suspension that caused him to miss last season.
LeMahieu, who turns 33 in July, became the first player to win undisputed batting titles in both leagues. He won his first AL batting crown last year at .364, the highest average for an AL champion since Minnesota’s Joe Mauer hit .365 in 2009, after winning the NL title with Colorado in 2016.
The Chicago White Sox completed a $54 million, three-year deal with former Oakland closer Liam Hendriks, a contract that includes a $1 million signing bonus and salaries of $11 million this season, $13 million in 2022 and $14 million in 2023. The White Sox hold an unusual $15 million option for 2024 with a $15 million buyout that would be paid in 10 equal installments from 2024-33.
Houston also finalized a $12.5 million, two-year deal with reliever Pedro Báez that includes a club option and could be worth $19.5 million for three seasons. Last season he was 0-0 with a 3.18 ERA and two saves in 18 appearances for the World Series champion Dodgers.
The Los Angeles Angels also announced a $1.5 million, one-year agreement with catcher Kurt Suzuki, who spent the past two seasons with Washington.