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Aardsma, Lowe agree to one-year deals

Seattle avoids arbitration hearings with closer, setup man

01/19/10 3:30 PM EST

The Mariners have reached agreement with right-handed closer David Aardsma for $2.75 million and right-handed setup reliever Mark Lowe for $1.15 million, avoiding salary arbitration hearings with both players.

"I'm very excited and happy," Aardsma said. "Now I don't have to worry about [salary arbitration]. I can just go out there and get ready to play."

Aardsma and Lowe were among the five Mariners who filed for salary arbitration and were to exchange salary figures with the team on Tuesday. The others are right-handed reliever Brandon League, first baseman Casey Kotchman, and ace right-hander Felix Hernandez, who reportedly has agreed to a five-year, $80 million contract extension.

Even so, Hernandez submitted an $11.5 million figure through salary arbitration, and the Mariners countered with a $7.2 million offer. Hernandez made $3.8 million last season.

Kotchman, who made $2.885 million last season, is seeking a $3.9 million contract while the Mariners offered $3.135 million. League, who made $640,000 with the Blue Jays in 2009, is asking for $1.325 million, while the Mariners offered $900,000.

Negotiations with arbitration-eligible players may continue until a potential hearing is held between Feb. 1-19.

Aardsma, acquired from the Red Sox for a Minor League pitcher last offseason, moved into the ninth-inning role in early May and became one of the most dependable closers in the Major Leagues.

The 28-year-old was 38-for-42 in save opportunities and led the American League with 18 quality saves, defined as coming into a game with the tying run in scoring position or protecting a one-run lead for at least one inning.

He entered the season with no career saves.

"I think both sides are very happy" said Aardsma, who made $419,000 in 2009. "Now, I have to go out there and do it again this year."

Lowe, like Aardsma, was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time in his career. Lowe was 2-7 with a 3.26 ERA in 75 appearances for the Mariners in 2009.

Jim Street is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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