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Giants and utility man Arias agree to one-year deal

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants and infielder Joaquin Arias avoided salary arbitration by agreeing Friday on a one-year, $925,000 deal.

As is often the case, the sides settled at the midpoint between the club's offer and the player's filing figure. San Francisco offered $750,000 to Arias, who filed for $1.1 million when figures were exchanged last Friday.

Arias became the fifth arbitration-eligible Giant to avoid an arbitration hearing, joining catcher Buster Posey, right fielder Hunter Pence, left-hander Jose Mijares and outfielder Gregor Blanco. Right-hander Sergio Romo, who developed into the Giants' closer as they advanced toward their World Series triumph last season, is the team's lone remaining arbitration-eligible player who has not come to terms. Romo filed for $4.5 million; the Giants countered with $2,675,000.

Arias, 28, emerged as a solid utility man after beginning last season as a non-roster invitee to big league Spring Training camp. He started twice at second base, 38 games at shortstop and 39 at third base, where he was stationed when he accounted for the final out in Matt Cain's June 13 perfect game by handling Jason Castro's tricky ground ball. Arias hit .270 with five home runs and 34 RBIs in 110 games and led all Major Leaguers with a .417 batting average in August (minimum 50 plate appearances).

Arias also hit .375 (3-for-8) in 12 postseason games. His most essential October contribution occurred in Game 3 of the Division Series at Cincinnati: He hustled out a 10th-inning, two-out chopper that he hit toward third baseman Scott Rolen, who bobbled the ball for an error in his haste to throw it to first base in time. That enabled Posey to score what proved to be the winning run in the Giants' 2-1 victory -- their first of a record-tying six in elimination games.

San Francisco Giants, Joaquin Arias