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Dontrelle Signs

Once again the Marlins avoid arbitration with Dontrelle Willis and reach an agreement.

Monday, the Marlins and Willis agreed to a one-year, $6.45 million contract to avoid arbitration. In his second year of arbitration eligibility, Willis received a $2.1 million raise after posting a double-digit win total and 197 or more innings for the third time in as many full big-league seasons.

Willis, who turned 25 on Friday, can earn another $50,000 if he makes 32 starts and an additional $300,000 in non-performance bonuses (Cy Young, All-Star, etc.). He has averaged 33.3 starts since 2004.

If he makes all his incentives, Dontrelle will earn $6.8 million next season.  Breaking the record for a second-year arbitration-eligible starter.

The highest contract for a second-year arbitration-eligible starter is $6.5 million earned by Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs last year.

Naturally, we all hope that happens.

The Marlins still have three other players who are arbitration-eligible.

The Marlins have not come to terms with Miguel Cabrera, Miguel Olivo and Kevin Gregg, their other arbitration-eligible players. Generally, team and player negotiate through today's exchange of salary figures and right up until the scheduled hearing.

The Marlins set the exchange day as a hard deadline. If the aforementioned players do not come to terms today, negotiations will cease and the two sides will prepare for a hearing.

Cabrera was also offered $6.45 million by the Marlins but I don't look for him to sign.  He and his agent will probably go before the panel in hopes of doing better and it is very possible they will reap a higher reward.  Nothing wrong with that, of course.

If a deal is not reached between the organization and the three remaining players, it will be settled in arbitration some time between Feb. 1 and Feb. 21.  At that time, the arbitrator will choose either the club's figure or the player's.  The deal will be for a one-year contract and the decision is binding.

If you like to read about Dontrelle's deal in French:  well, here you go.

Oh, and also, Dontrelle will become a dad for the first-time in May.  He and Natalee will be the proud parents of a new baby girl.  Who will, no doubt, have Dontrelle so wrapped around her finger it could prove amusing.  Completely understandable, but amusing.