The Giants made plenty of headway in Major League Baseball's arbitration process on Friday, settling with arguably the biggest name of all and one of the most expensive.
Superstar catcher Buster Posey, who attained Super Two status, settled on a 2013 contract for $8 million. Slugging right fielder Hunter Pence, heading into his final year before free agency, got $13.8 million. And joining them in settling before the formal exchange of figures were reliever Jose Mijares ($1.8 million) and outfielder Gregor Blanco ($1.35 million), the Giants have confirmed.
Now all that's left for the defending World Series champs are two unsigned arbitration-eligible players, closer Sergio Romo and infielder Joaquin Arias.
Oh, and that widely-speculated-about, previously-reported-on, still-very-possible contract extension for the National League's Most Valuable Player.
Posey's agreed-upon figure is a big bump from what he made as a pre-arbitration player in 2012 ($615,000) and close to what Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard got during his first arbitration year, 2008 ($10 million). But it could simply be a formality that buys time as the two table extension talks in the coming months, with several media outlets outlining the Giants' desire to buy out all of Posey's arbitration years and perhaps some of those in free agency.
At 25, Posey already has MVP and Rookie of the Year awards, a batting title and two World Series rings in his back pocket. He made a remarkable comeback from ankle surgery, posting an NL-leading .336 batting average to go along with 24 homers and 103 RBIs, and isn't eligible for free agency until 2017.
Pence has a.285/.339/.475 line over his six-year career. The 29-year-old hit .253 with 24 homers and 104 RBIs while earning $10.4 million with the Phillies and Giants last season.
Said Pence via Twitter: "I want to express my gratitude towards the Giants fans, Giants organization and [agency Beverly Hills Sports Council] for making me a Giant again!"
Of course, Pence wasn't going anywhere because he doesn't have the required six years of service time to be a free agent.
Prior to that, players with at least three years of service time and fewer than six -- or, in Posey's case, among the top 22 percent in service time between two and three years -- use the arbitration system to get pay raises based on experience and accomplishments.
Hearings will be scheduled from Feb. 4-20, and figures in anticipation for that are formally exchanged on Friday. Teams and players can continue to negotiate, however, and rarely does a hearing take place.
Romo, in his second year of arbitration, filed for $4.5 million while the Giants countered with $2,675,000. Arias, arbitration-eligible for the first time, is requesting $1.1 million and the Giants are currently offering $750,000.
Mijares got a $1.8 million contract in his second year of arbitration eligibility. Like Pence, the 28-year-old left-hander was acquired down the stretch last season, posting a 2.56 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 56 1/3 combined innings with the Royals and Giants. Mijares made $925,000 in 2012.
Blanco will earn $1.35 million, a sizeable raise over last season's $516,000 in his first arbitration-eligible year. The 29-year-old made an impressive return to the Majors in 2012 after a one-year absence, batting .244 with 34 RBIs and 26 stolen bases in 141 regular-season games and coming up big in the World Series.