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A's avoid arbitration with reliever Chavez

OAKLAND -- The A's on Tuesday avoided arbitration with Jesse Chavez, agreeing on a one-year deal with the right-hander for 2014.

Chavez, 30, turned in a career-best 3.92 ERA in 35 games spanning two stints in Oakland last year, and he'll be in a fierce battle for a bullpen spot come Spring Training.

The A's are counting on Jim Johnson, Sean Doolittle, Luke Gregerson, Ryan Cook and Dan Otero to fill five of the seven slots, leaving Chavez in competition with the likes of Fernando Abad, Evan Scribner, Fernando Rodriguez and Josh Lindblom, as well as rotation hopefuls Drew Pomeranz and Tommy Milone.

Chavez averaged 8.6 strikeouts and 3.1 walks per nine innings in 2013, tallying a career-high 55 strikeouts and limiting opponents to a .230 average and .302 on-base percentage.

Even with Chavez locked up, the A's still have seven arbitration-eligible players under their watch: Johnson, Gregerson, Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick, John Jaso and Craig Gentry.

Salary arbitration figures do not have to be exchanged until Jan. 17, leaving the A's time to come to terms on a contract with these players. They have a long history of avoiding arbitration hearings, which are not scheduled before Feb. 1.

Jane Lee is a reporter for

Oakland Athletics, Jesse Chavez