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48 MLB players prepare for arbitration

The Associated Press

Baseball’s salary arbitration season began Monday when Philadelphia first baseman Travis Lee and the Phillies argued their case before a three-man panel in Phoenix.

Tuesday, February 06, 2001

Baseball’s salary arbitration season began Monday when Philadelphia first baseman Travis Lee and the Phillies argued their case before a three-man panel in Phoenix.

Lee, who hit .235 last season with nine homers and 54 RBIs in 404 at-bats, asked for a raise from $500,000 to $1.6 million. The Phillies countered at $800,000.

Arbitrators Jack Clarke, Matthew Finken and Jerome Ross heard the case and were expected to issue a decision Tuesday or Wednesday.

Forty-eight players remain in arbitration, with hearings scheduled through Feb. 21. Last year, just 10 cases went to hearings. This year, it appears likely there will be the most hearings since at least 1994, when there were 16.

Derek Jeter, who asked for an arbitration record $18.5 million, is not expected to need a hearing. The Yankees and their All-Star shortstop are negotiating on a $189 million, 10-year contract.

Work on that deal has been temporarily stopped while Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, prepared for a Tuesday hearing involving another client, Milwaukee pitcher Jamey Wright.

Yankees president Randy Levine was working on his case against reliever Mariano Rivera, scheduled for Thursday. Rivera, who lost in arbitration last year after winning in 1999, has asked for a raise from $7.25 million to $10.25 million

New York has offered $9 million and was rebuffed in its effort to negotiate a $27 million, three-year deal.

Two Tampa Bay Devil Rays who had been scheduled for hearings Wednesday agreed to one-year contracts, reliever Esteban Yan ($650,000) and outfielder Jose Guillen ($975,000).

Yan made $265,000 last season and Guillen $375,000. Both got new contracts at the midpoint of what they had asked for and the Devil Rays had offered.

Also, Minnesota right-hander Bob Wells agreed to a one-year contract extension through 2002, a deal that contains a team option for an additional season.