The Orioles have decided to offer a 2012 contract to right-hander Brad Bergesen as well as six others who are eligible for arbitration this winter.
Of their nine arbitration-eligible players, only two were not offered contracts on Monday: lefty Jo-Jo Reyes and outfielder Luke Scott. Reliever Willie Eyre, who was taken off the 40-man roster and designated for assignment last week, also was listed as not being tendered a contract. The club now has 38 players on its 40-man roster.
The Orioles would like to have Scott back, but at a salary less than the $6-plus million he would have made in 2012.
The decisions had to be made by midnight Monday and it seemed like the one with Bergesen could go either way – and wasn’t officially resolved until the Orioles announced their list at midnight.
The 26-year-old right-hander was the biggest surprise of 2009 when he went 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 19 starts and looked to be a future rotation mainstay. But injuries limited his effectiveness in 2010 and he split time in the Orioles’ rotation, bullpen and Triple-A in 2011, posting a 2-7 record and a 5.70 ERA in 34 games (12 starts) for the Orioles.
A former fourth-round pick in 2004, Bergesen still has a minor-league option remaining, meaning he doesn’t have to be exposed to waivers if sent to the minors in 2012. And that increases his value to the Orioles, and potentially other teams. Bergesen was discussed in trade talks at last week’s winter meetings. He still could be dealt this winter.
Bergesen made $434,000 last year but was Super 2 eligible this season – he gets a fourth year of arbitration due to his amount of service time – and could get over $1 million based on his experience as a reliever and starter.