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Kevin Kouzmanoff, A’s agree on one-year, $3.1 million deal; Rajai Davis gets $1.35 million (WITH UPDATED INFO)

LATEST INFO: Reliever Michael Wuertz is the lone arb-eligible Athletic to remain unsigned. Wuertz, who made $1.1 million last season, is asking for $2.9 million and the A’s are offering $1.9 million. This info comes courtesy of Ed Price at AOL Fanhouse.

A’s assistant GM David Forst told me he’s optimistic the A’s can work out a contract with Wuertz and avoid a formal hearing, which would come sometime in February.

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The A’s just sent out a release announcing that newly acquired third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff also agreed to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration. The AP is reporting he gets $3.1 million.

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Just got it confirmed that the A’s and outfielder Rajai Davis avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year, $1.35 million contract w/incentives. It’s a well-earned bump from the $410,000 that Davis made last season, and it avoids the possibility of the A’s going to an arbitration hearing with him in February. Now the team will focus on signing its lone remaining arb-eligible player: reliever Michael Wuertz. Check back here later for updates.

To recap the arbitration process: A player is eligible for arbitration after three years of major league service time (and in some scenarios, two-plus years, which was Davis’ case). If a team doesn’t reach a contract agreement with an arb-eligible player, a hearing is held before an independent panel, where the team submits a proposed salary figure, and the player’s agent submits a proposed salary. The panel hears each side’s case and decides on one salary or the other — there’s no middle-ground compromise. These hearings can get nasty because a team is forced to criticize its own player to justify why the lower salary should be given.

The A’s have had great success in recent years finding some middle ground and reaching agreements w/players to avoid hearings. Teams and players were due to exchange salary figures at 9 a.m. this morning if they hadn’t reached an agreement, and I assume that’s turning out to be the case w/Wuertz. Teams can continue negotiating a deal with a player anytime leading up to their scheduled hearing, and I’d expect the A’s to hammer something out w/Wuertz before it comes to a hearing …

Joe Stiglich