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Diamondbacks Avoid Arbitration By Signing Drew, Saunders

The club announced Tuesday that it has signed shortstop Stephen Drew and starting pitcher Joe Saunders to contracts.

Drew gets a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2013, and Saunders got a one-year deal. Saunders, a lefty, was 3-7 with a 4.25 ERA for Arizona after coming over in the Dan Haren trade last July. He pitched more than 200 innings for the first time in his career.

Drew, 27, is the longest-tenured shortstop in club history with 633 games over five seasons. He’ll be counted on heavily this season after hitting .278 with 33 doubles, a career-high-tying 12 triples, 15 home runs and 61 RBI in 151 games last season. He also set career-highs with 62 walks, 10 stolen bases and a .352 on-base percentage.

The deals for Drew and Saunders were both completed late last night.  The signing allows the team to avoid arbitration for the next two years on Drew and for this year on Saunders. The D-backs will still likely face arbitration with Kelly Johnson and Miguel Montero. 

Diamondbacks Vice President and General Manager Kevin Towers expects to have a better idea on the gaps and where the mid-points are for the Johnson and Montero negotiations at some point this afternoon.

"My hope is to get everybody signed and avoid a hearing. If we have to go, we have to go but it's not a process that anybody comes out of -- regardless if you win or lose -- that they're real happy with," Tower said today.

Drew's contract is for $4.65 million in the first year, $7.75 million in the second year with a mutual option for $10 million in the third year. If the Diamondbacks decline the option there's a $1.35 million buyout.

Saunders will make $5.5 million on his one-year deal.