OAKLAND -- The A's and right-handed reliever Brad Ziegler avoided arbitration on Saturday with a one-year contract worth $1.25 million.
It marks a substantial raise for the 31-year-old sidearmer, who took home $410,000 during a 2010 campaign that saw him go 3-7 with a 3.26 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 64 relief appearances.
Ziegler, who was deemed arbitration-eligible thanks to his Super Two status, also held the opposition to a .241 batting average, including a .179 mark with runners in scoring position and two outs. Furthermore, he allowed just 22.6 percent of his inherited runners to score and proved to be a key relief component down the stretch in the absence of several injured bullpen mates.
The righty owns a career 2.51 ERA and 18 saves spanning 180 relief appearances over three seasons with the A's, who have used the offseason to build one of the more formidable bullpens in the league. Along with Ziegler and 2010 regulars Andrew Bailey, Craig Breslow, Michael Wuertz and Jerry Blevins, Oakland has added righty Grant Balfour and expects to get back a healthy Joey Devine. Reports also surfaced Saturday of the club's strong interest in left-hander Brian Fuentes.
With Ziegler locked up, the A's now have five remaining arbitration-eligible players: Breslow, Dallas Braden, Conor Jackson, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Josh Willingham.
Each player and the A's will exchange offers on Jan. 18 if a contract is not finalized before then. If the sides subsequently can't reach an agreement on a contract, a three-judge panel will conduct a hearing and assign the player either the club's offer or his offer -- nothing in between -- as his salary for 2011.
However, the A's have enjoyed much success in avoiding such hearings, which would be scheduled sometime between Feb. 1-21.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.