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Julio Mateo Re-Ups

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The Seattle Mariners agreed Thursday to a $1,875,000, two-year contract with reliever Julio Mateo that avoided salary arbitration.
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Mateo's deal, contingent on the successful completion of a physical, calls for a $150,000 signing bonus and salaries of $625,000 in 2006 and $1 million in 2007. Seattle holds a $1.5 million option for 2008 with a $100,000 buyout. Mateo could increase his 2008 base salary by $50,000 each for 55 appearances and 60 appearances in 2007 and another $100,000 if he appears in 65 games.

On the one hand, Mateo isn't a great pitcher. He doesn't record too many strikeouts, and his extreme nature as a flyball pitcher makes him ill-suited for high-leverage at bats in the later innings of close games. On the other, though, he's durable, he has good control, and he's a good match for the ballpark, so he's worth keeping around as a sponge for the middle innings. He can also give you four or five innings as a spot starter, which has some value on a team with a shaky rotation.

Julio Mateo is probably one of the most available players on the roster when it comes to trade discussions, since he's a cheap, decent pitcher who the Mariners could replace pretty easily. That said, as long as he's around, he's going to throw his 80 innings and help stabilize what should be a fairly volatile pitching staff. No complaints here.