Chen, another left-hander, had a career year in 2005. The native of Panama notched a 13-10 record and a 3.83 ERA, ranking second on the team in wins and first in ERA. And he did that after bouncing around baseball. Chen has pitched for seven big-league teams since 2000, but in Mazzone, he gets back to his first pitching coach.
Baltimore gave Williams his big break last year, and the 34-year-old thrived in his first full big-league season. The right-hander worked in 72 games, posting a 5-5 record and a 3.30 ERA. Before that, Williams pitched in parts of five seasons with Major League teams -- the first coming all the way back in 1995 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Patterson was recently acquired from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for two Minor League prospects. The 26-year-old hit just .215 last season and earned a demotion to Triple-A at one point, but the Orioles are counting on him to step forward in 2006. Patterson, the third overall pick in the 1998 First-Year Player Draft, is a career .252 hitter.
There are still some key players among the remaining arbitration cases. Jay Gibbons and Brian Roberts -- Baltimore's respective regulars in right field and second base -- headline the class, along with starting pitcher Rodrigo Lopez. The final two players, Jorge Julio and Luis Matos, are expected to take supporting roles next season.
The Orioles exchanged figures with each player's representatives on Tuesday, setting the marks for the arbitration hearings. Roberts, who earned his first All-Star berth last season, asked for $3.6 million and was offered $2.4 million. Either figure would represent a significant raise from his 2005 salary of $415,000.
Gibbons, who made $2.8 million last year, will be eligible for free agency next season. The Orioles offered him $4 million for 2006, and his agents asked for $5.3 million. The two sides may settle on a multiyear deal before the arbitration hearings come to pass.
The gaps closed a bit for the remaining players. Lopez, Baltimore's Opening Day pitcher in 2005, asked for $4.5 million, just $750,000 more than Baltimore's offer. Matos, who may have lost his starting job to Patterson, requested $2 million and was offered $1.3 million.
Finally, Julio -- the team's former closer -- asked for $2.8 million and was offered $2.3 million. Arbitration hearings are scheduled in February, but the club and the players can settle on a contract any time prior to the hearing.