PHOENIX -- The Brewers saved some airfare on Friday by agreeing to terms with shortstop J.J. Hardy on a one-year contract reportedly worth $2.65 million, avoiding an arbitration hearing that was scheduled for early next week in St. Petersburg. Hardy, 25 years old and coming off his breakthrough season, was seeking $3.05 million in arbitration, and the Brewers offered $2.4 million. General manager Doug Melvin had said in recent days that he was prepared to go all the way to a hearing, after which a panel of judges would have selected one salary figure or the other. By coming to terms near the midpoint on Friday afternoon, Melvin kept alive his streak of avoiding arbitration hearings. The Brewers haven't gone to a hearing since Melvin took over as GM late in the 2002 season, though they were within hours of one in February 2006, with outfielder Brady Clark, before settling.
Friday's deal came on the eve of pitchers and catchers reporting to Maryvale Baseball Park for the start of Spring Training. Hardy lives near Phoenix and has already been working out there in advance of position players reporting Feb. 23. Hardy, who missed much of the 2006 season with an ankle injury, rebounded in 2007 with a .277 batting average, 26 home runs and 80 RBIs in 151 games. He was one of four Brewers voted by their peers to play in the All-Star Game in San Francisco. He was eligible for arbitration for the first time after earning $400,000 last season.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.