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Clubs, players likely to avoid arbitration in 2013

First time since process began in 1974 that third-party panel not needed

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Thanks but no thanks, third parties. Major League teams and their arbitration-eligible players handled things just fine on their own this offseason.

For the first time since the arbitration process started in 1974, it appears that Major League Baseball will not have an arbitration hearing this year. In January, 133 players filed for arbitration. On Saturday, the Padres agreed to a one-year, $5.24 million deal with southpaw Clayton Richard, the last remaining unsigned player.

The Orioles have a pact in place with reliever Darren O'Day, but the sidearmer still needs to pass a physical before it becomes official. That deal's completion will signal the conclusion of arbitration season and the exclusion of any third-party settlements, often an uncomfortable process for the team and player.

Arbitration hearings were scheduled to take place from Feb. 4-20, if needed. Teams and players were permitted to negotiate up until the hearing.

Players are eligible for salary arbitration if they have logged at least three full years in the big leagues, but fewer than six. They qualify for "Super Two" status if they fall within the top 22 percent of players who have recorded between two and three years of service time.

Last winter, seven players took their cases to an arbitrator, with two -- infielder Emilio Bonifacio and right-hander Anibal Sanchez, then both with the Marlins -- winning their hearings. In the other five instances, the third party sided with the teams.

Zack Meisel is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @zackmeisel. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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