Sports

Arbitration Players Average 123 Percent Increase

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (AP) — National League MVP Joey Votto got the steepest pay increase in salary arbitration, with players receiving an average jump of 123 percent.

The Cincinnati Reds first baseman went from a $525,000 salary last year to an average of $12.7 million under a $38 million, three-year contract. The 24-fold hike was easily the largest, according to a study of contracts by The Associated Press.

Kansas City first baseman Billy Butler was second, with a nearly 16-fold increase from $470,000 to an average of $7.5 million as part of a $30 million, four-year deal. Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto was third with a 14-fold rise from $445,000 to an average of $6.75 million as part of a $27 million, four-year contract.

The average raise of the 119 players in arbitration was up from 121 percent last year but down from the record 172 percent in 2009.

This year’s group went from an average of $1.68 million to $3.76 million. Last year, the 128 players in arbitration increased from an average of $1.4 million to $3.09 million. The record average of $3.26 million was set in 2004.

Just three players went to hearings, with players holding a 2-1 advantage for just their second winning record since 1996. The total matched the record low since the process began in 1974, set when owners had a 2-1 advantage in 2005 and matched when players won two of three in 2009. Players had a winning record this year in arbitration for only the second time since 1996.

In the final hearing, Houston outfielder Hunter Pence won his case Saturday and will receive $6.9 million rather than the team’s offer of $5.15 million. Earlier, Pittsburgh pitcher Ross Ohlendorf won despite going 1-11 last season and Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jered Weaver lost. Ohlendorf will make $2,025,000 and Weaver $7,365,000.

Fourteen players received multiyear contracts, five fewer than last year but matching the 2009 total. Teams lead 286-212 since arbitration began in 1974.