A's avoid arbitration with Kouz, Davis
Wuertz remains sole arbitration-eligible player yet to sign
OAKLAND -- The A's avoided arbitration and agreed to one-year contracts with newly acquired third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff and outfielder Rajai Davis on Tuesday.
Kouzmanoff, traded from San Diego on Saturday in a deal that sent outfielders Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham to the Padres, will make $3.1 million.
The 28-year-old third baseman was due a substantial raise from the $432,000 he made a year ago after finishing second to the Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman in voting for the Gold Glove Award thanks to a .990 fielding percentage. Kouzmanoff also averaged 18 or more home runs in each of his three seasons with the Padres.
"It's definitely comforting having a deal done and knowing now that all I have to worry about is playing baseball," Kouzmanoff told MLB.com from his home in Denver on Tuesday. "At first I was a little unsure about the trade, but I feel good about the whole thing because the A's want me to be a part of their club, so I'm excited about their support."
The speedy Davis, who made $410,000 last season, during which he was fifth in the American League with 41 stolen bases, accepted a $1.35 million offer with incentives.
The 29-year-old Davis began the 2009 season as the club's fourth outfielder before quickly earning a permanent spot in the lineup, which allowed him the opportunity to hit .305 in 125 games. Always one to count his blessings, Davis happily admitted feeling a sense of calmness following Tuesday morning's news.
"I'm thankful for another opportunity to go to a place that's familiar to me," Davis told MLB.com. "And I'm thankful to the Lord for taking all the waiting away, and the worries, and all the negative things that could come up in the process."
Said A's assistant general manager David Forst: "I think anytime you get a deal done before numbers are exchanged, it's in everybody's best interest. We have good relationships with both of their agents, so I think those relationships always make the conversations easier."
The club will now turn its focus toward reliever Michael Wuertz, the only remaining A's player eligible for arbitration. Both sides exchanged salary figures Tuesday with the result being a $1 million difference.
Oakland offered $1.9 million to the reliever, who made $1.1 million in 2009 while posting a 2.63 ERA in a team-high 74 appearances. The 30-year-old pitcher put $2.9 million on the table, and Forst told MLB.com he is optimistic a deal will be reached before a February arbitration hearing is necessary.
"I think those numbers are pretty much what we expected," Forst said. "We'll hopefully continue talks tomorrow and get something worked out soon."
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.