Reliever Valverde opts for arbitration

February 14, 2008 6:06:57 PM PST
Chien-Ming Wang went to an arbitration hearing Thursday, the first for the New York Yankees since the team won its case against Mariano Rivera in 2000. Relievers Brian Fuentes of Colorado and Jose Valverde of Houston also went to arbitration.

Wang, a 19-game winner in each of the last two seasons, was eligible for arbitration for the first time and asked for a raise from $489,500 to $4.6 million. New York countered at $4 million in a case heard by arbitrators Stephen Goldberg, Jack Clarke and Christine Knowlton.

Fuentes, who saved 20 games as the Rockies advanced to the playoffs, requested an increase from $3,525,000 to $6.5 million. Colorado argued arbitrators Robert Bailey, Dan Brent and Elliott Shriftman should award him $5.05 million.

Valverde, acquired by the Astros from Arizona in an offseason trade, asked Knowlton, Goldberg and Sylvia Skratek for a raise from $2 million to $6.2 million. Houston filed at $4.7 million.

Washington defeated infielder Felipe Lopez in the first arbitration hearing of the year when the infielder was awarded $4.9 million rather than the $5.2 million he asked for. Lopez made $3.9 million last year, when he hit .245 with nine homers, 50 RBIs and 24 steals.

Knowlton, Shriftman and Steven Wolf made the decision Thursday, a day after listening to arguments.

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