02/13/2003 5:20 pm ET
Royals, Ibañez avoid arbitration
KC outfielder put together career season in 2002
By Robert Falkoff / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Raul Ibañez is coming off a breakout year
and now he has a breakout contract to go with it.
The Royals and Ibañez avoided salary arbitration Thursday by
reaching agreement on a one-year deal worth $3 million.
Ibañez had been scheduled for a
Feb. 19 hearing but now that won't be necessary.
He had initially asked
for $3.4 million and the Royals offered $2.75 million, meaning he was
assured after the arbitration filing period of more than tripling last
year's $800,000 salary.
Ibañez, 30, earned his hefty raise after hitting .294 with 24 home
runs and 103 RBIs in 2002.
"Raul had a tremendous year for us," said Royals assistant GM
Muzzy Jackson, who worked out the agreement with Michael Maas, the agent
for Ibañez. "He's a very important part of our club."
Ibañez received the Joe Burke Special Achievement Award for his 2002
accomplishments. He is expected to play left field on a regular basis this
Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the
approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.