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Parker avoids salary arbitration; is Kazmir next for A’s?

Jarrod Parker and the A's have agreed on a new $8.5 million deal that avoids salary arbitration.

Jarrod Parker and the A’s have agreed on a new $8.5 million deal that avoids salary arbitration.

The A’s have avoided salary arbitration with right-handed starter Jarrod Parker Saturday, agreeing with him on a one-year deal for $850,000, half of it guaranteed.

Meanwhile the A’s are waiting to hear back from lefty Scott Kazmir, a free agent who spent all of 2014 and the first half of 2015 pitching behind Sonny Gray at the top of the Oakland rotation. He’s a free agent, and is amenable to a return to Oakland.

At the same time, cbssports.com reported the Orioles, Dodgers and Royals all have competing offers out to Kazmir, who seems to be close to accepting a three-year deal from one of the four teams in the next few days.

    Parker hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2013, missing the last two season recovering from Tommy John surgery. The right-hander was working his way back from his second ligament-replacement surgery when on May 9 he came out of an injury rehabilitation assignment start with Triple-A Nashville.

At the time he was considered a start or two away from returning to the A’s rotation, but an elbow injury shut him down again. There was some concern that the ligament had blown again, but it was instead a fracture of the medial epicondyle, which was remedied by surgery 10 days later.

He didn’t pitch again in 2015, and while the A’s are hopeful that he will be a factor for them in 2016, they won’t know until spring training and beyond if he’s healthy enough to pitch.

Meanwhile, the A’s haven’t made any announcement about their signing of another right-handed pitcher, free agent Henderson Alvarez. Word got out Friday and Alvarez himself posted on his Instagram account that the deal was done, but Oakland likely is waiting for the results of a physical exam to seal the deal.

Alvarez will earn $4 million that would bring the 26-year-old about another $1.6 million if all incentives are reached.

Oakland has Sonny Gray at the top of the rotation, with Rich Hill, a free agent lefty, second. Behind them is a group of pitchers coming off injury issues last year – Chris Bassitt, Kendall Graveman, Jesse Hahn, Sean Nolin, Aaron Brooks and Parker. Hence the club’s pursuit of Alvarez and Kazmir.

John Hickey

A longtime baseball writer three years into in his second go-round covering to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.