Leesburg native and San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, left, celebrates the team's World Series win late last year with his wife and high school sweetheart, Kristen, during a parade in the Bay Area.
SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants’ selection of Buster Posey as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2008 Major League Baseball draft has paid huge dividends for the team in the form of two World Series titles in the last three years.
And Friday, the franchise did its best to pay Posey back.
The 25-year-old Leesburg native, former Florida State standout and star catcher for the Giants avoided salary arbitration Friday and was given a hefty raise to $8 million, which is way up from the $615,000 he made last season — the final year of Posey’s rookie contract before he was eligible to enter into the arbitration process, which is typically available to rising players with at least three years, but no more than six, of MLB experience.
Posey, when reached Friday by The Herald in New York — where he will accept the 2012 National League MVP award tonight during the annual Baseball Writers Association of America ceremony — declined to comment on the arbitration process.
Of course, there’s no doubt the reigning MVP and batting champ — who is entering his fourth season in the majors with an incredibly impressive resume in such a short amount of time — was more than deserving.
Posey established career highs with a .336 batting average, 24 home runs and 103 RBI for the World Series champion Giants. He did so only a year after a devastating, season-ending left leg and ankle injury in a May 25, 2011, collision at the plate.
Posey, who received the largest signing bonus in Giants franchise history to the tune of $6.2 million after he was drafted following a stellar junior season at Florida State in 2008, is under contract with the Giants through 2016, meaning he’s eligible for salary arbitration — and likely more pay raises — each year until he becomes a free agent in 2017.
Both Posey and the Giants have expressed a desire to get a long-term deal done well before that, so this offseason is likely the only time he will go to arbitration before San Francisco rewards him with what many expect will be a multiyear, $100-million deal, assuring he’ll be a Giant for the prime of his career.
Posey, who made $575,000 last season, filed for arbitration — where both sides submit a new salary figure that is either agreed upon or is decided on by a panel of three MLB arbitrators — earlier this week along with 133 other major league players. In Posey’s case, he asked for $8 million, which also happened to be what the Giants offered.
Braves avoid arbitration with five key stars
ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves avoided arbitration with five players Friday, including outfielder Jason Heyward, starting pitcher Kris Medlen and reliever Eric O’Flaherty.
Heyward agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.65 million in his first year of arbitration eligibility, a big increase from the $565,000 he made last season while batting .269 with 27 homers, 82 RBI and 21 stolen bases.
Medlen, also up for arbitration for the first time, settled for one year at $2.6 million after earning $490,000 last season. He became the team’s most dominant starter over the second half, finishing 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA. The right-hander also started the wild-card playoff for the Braves, pitching well in a season-ending loss to the Cardinals.
O’Flaherty, the main setup reliever for closer Craig Kimbrel, received a $4.32 million deal. The lefty made $2.49 million last season, going 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA.
Also agreeing to one-year deals were relievers Jonny Venters ($1.625 million) and Cristhian Martinez ($749,750).
The Braves failed to reach an agreement with Martin Prado by the arbitration deadline. Prado is asking for $7.05 million, while the team countered with an offer of $6.65 million.
Prado made $4.75 million last season, when he batted a team-leading .301 with 10 homers, 70 RBIs and 17 stolen bases as the left fielder. He’s expected to move to third base to replace the retired Chipper Jones.