D-backs Avoid Arbitration with Three

Qualls got a big raise from his '09 salary (AP)

Stephen Drew, Aaron Heilman, and Chad Qualls have all avoided arbitration hearings with the Arizona Diamondbacks by agreeing to one-year deals. Only newcomer Edwin Jackson remains unsigned among the team's arbitration-eligible players who were tendered contracts.

Stephen Drew agreed to a one-year contract worth $3.4 million.  The former first-round pick was in the final season of a five-year, $7.5 million deal signed after his selection in the draft.  2009 was a down season for Drew, however, which likely led to him accepting a lower total than had he become arbitration-eligible after his terrific 2008 season.

Aaron Heilman, recently acquired in a trade with the Cubs, agreed to a one-year, $2.16 million deal.  This was his final season of arbitration-eligibility before becoming free agent-eligible next winter.  He made $1.625 million lat year.

This will also be closer Chad Qualls' final year before free agent eligibility.  He agreed to a one-year deal worth $4.185 million after having made $2.535 million last year.  Becoming Arizona's primary closer for the 2009 season raised Qualls' price tag beyond what it woul dhave been had he remained a middle reliever.

Edwin Jackson remains unsigned.  His agent, Scott Boras, has exchanged desired salary figures with the D-backs and have will enter an arbitration hearing in February unless the two sides can close the gap between those numbers.  Jackson made $2.2 million in 2009, his first arbitration-eligible season.  He will be looking for a big raise this year after a season in which he set career-bests in virtually every category.

The Diamondbacks have never gone to an arbitration hearing during general manager Josh Byrnes' tenure, however.

"Arbitration is an involved process," Byrnes told Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. "We got all but one done so far, and we'll keep working on that one and see what happens."

The Diamondbacks opted to trade Max Scherzer, who will not become arbitration-eligible until next winter at the earliest, to get Jackson, who will be free-agent eligible after the 2011 season.

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