NEW YORK — Detroit Tigers left-hander David Price set a record for the highest one-year contract for a player in salary arbitration, agreeing to a $19.75 million deal Friday as 95 players reached agreements on the busiest day of baseball’s offseason.
Several other pitchers got big salaries, including Washington’s Doug Fister ($11.4 million) and Stephen Strasburg ($7.4 million), Boston’s Rick Porcello ($12.5 million), San Diego’s Ian Kennedy ($9.85 million) and Jeff Samardzija of the Chicago White Sox ($9.8 million).
Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis, with one game left to serve on a 25-game suspension for using the banned stimulant Adderall, got the largest deal among position players Friday at $12 million. Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, coming off season-ending elbow surgery in June, agreed at $8,275,000, and New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy at $8 million.
Of the 175 players who filed for arbitration on Tuesday, just 74 exchanged figures with their teams and only 54 were without agreements by Friday night.
Of the cases still to be determined, Houston outfielder Dexter Fowler asked for the most at $10.8 million, with the Astros offering $8.5 million.
Baltimore outfielder Steve Pearce presented the biggest difference: He asked for $5.4 million and the team offered $2 million. Orioles pitcher Bud Norris also had a big gap, requesting $10.25 million as the team offered $7.5 million.
Cases that don’t settle will be scheduled for hearings before three-person panels next month in St. Petersburg, Florida. Just three of the 146 players who filed last year needed decisions.
Tampa Bay settled with all eight of its players in arbitration, and San Diego reached deals with all seven eligible Padres. Pittsburgh had the most players in arbitration with 12 and settled with nine.
Price’s deal topped Max Scherzer’s $15,525,000 agreement with Detroit last year. Scherzer is now a free agent, and Price can go on the open market after this year’s World Series, when he will be 30.
Detroit acquired the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner from Tampa Bay at the July 31 trade deadline, and he went on to hold Minnesota scoreless in a division-clinching victory on the final day of the regular season. The Tigers won the AL Central for a fourth consecutive year.
Price went 15-12 with a 3.26 ERA last season, when he made $14 million.
SOURCE: AOKI TO JOIN SAN FRANCISCO: After losing to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series, Nori Aoki joined them.
The free agent outfielder agreed to a $4.7 million, one-year contract with San Francisco, a person with knowledge of the agreement said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.
Aoki gives the Giants a proven outfielder to join regular center fielder Angel Pagan and right fielder Hunter Pence om the defending World Series champions. He also has the speed to bat leadoff if Pagan, who has battled injury the past two years, needs a break. He could share time in left field with Gregor Blanco.
Aoki, who sought to join a contender where he could play regularly and liked the Bay Area culture and geographical location to his native Japan, gets a $4 million base salary this year, and the Giants have a $5.5 million option for 2016 with a $700,000 buyout.
Aoki, 33, hit .285 with a home run, six triples, 22 doubles and 43 RBIs over 132 games in his lone season with the Royals.
KANG MAKES THE JUMP: South Korean infielder Jung Ho Kang and the Pittsburgh Pirates finalized an $11 million, four-year contract.
The deal with the 27-year-old infielder includes a $5 million club option for 2019 with a $1 million buyout.
Kang is trying to become the first position player to move from the Korean Baseball Organization directly to the major leagues
Drew finalizes $5 million deal: Infielder Stephen Drew and the New York Yankees finalized a $5 million, one-year contract, a deal that puts him in position to become New York’s starting second baseman.
Drew’s agreement was reached Jan. 6 and announced Friday, after he passed a physical. Drew, who turns 32 in March, was acquired by the Yankees from Boston on July 31. He hit .150 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 155 plate appearances for New York while making 34 appearances at second base and 12 at shortstop as a backup to Derek Jeter.
He batted .253 with 13 homers and 67 RBIs for Boston in 2013 as the Red Sox won the World Series, and then became a free agent. Drew didn’t accept Boston’s $14.1 million qualifying offer but couldn’t find a deal to his liking as teams seemed reticent to part with a top draft pick.
Hall of Fame
JOHNSON’S PLAQUE TO HAVE ARIZONA LOGO: Randy Johnson will wear an Arizona Diamondbacks cap on his plaque in baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Johnson had said it was out of his hands as to whether the cap would be from the Diamondbacks, from his previous team, the Seattle Mariners, or have no insignia at all. Johnson said in a statement that after thinking about the issue and conferring with Hall of Fame representatives, they came to the decision that “the Diamondbacks logo on my Hall of Fame plaque makes the most sense.”