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Diamondbacks Do Deal With Duke As Arbitration Action Abounds

The Arizona Diamondbacks announced yesterday -- but we are late getting to it because there were other more important things going on -- that they've come to terms with left-handed pitcher Zach Duke. Duke and the D-backs (has a nice ring, huh) agreed to a one-year contract worth $4.25 million with a mutual option for a second year. 

The Duke signing rounds out the D-backs rotation as he joins the staff of starters comprised of Dan Hudson (RHP), Barry Enright (RHP), Ian Kennedy (RHP), and Joe Saunders (LHP). Duke should fit in nicely since he's yet another guy on the staff who pitches to contact, which would certainly indicate that the Diamondbacks need to have solid defense in the massive field known as Chase Blimp Hanger.

The D-backs also announced that they've tendered contracts to arbitration-eligible players Stephen Drew, Kelly Johnson, Miguel Montero and Joe Saunders, who each have accrued more than three years of service time in the Major Leagues.

Drew, Johnson, Montero and Saunders will have their salaries determined through Major League Baseball's arbitration process. The D-backs did not tender a contract to Ryan Church, Augie Ojeda, Blaine Boyer and D.J. Carrasco for the 2011 season, thus making them free agents and able to sign with any team.

It is looking like the middle of the defense will be returned in tact, with Montero behind the plate, Drew and Johnson in the middle of the infield and Chris Young under contract in center field. The big questions remain with first base, which is now open with Adam LaRoche parting ways with the club and Mark Reynolds (3B) and Justin Upton (RF) potentially on the trade blocks.

And since we are here talking about the D-backs annual winter roster overhaul, we should also note the reports that the Snakes signed Willy Mo Pena to a split contract and rumors that the Orioles, Padres and Blue Jays are all interested in the Strikeout King, Mark Reynolds.