Cabrera, Nady avoid arbitration

Yanks avoid arbitration with Nady, Cabrera

NEW YORK -- The Yankees continued to move forward with their winter business on Tuesday, finalizing contracts with outfielders Xavier Nady and Melky Cabrera to avoid salary arbitration.

Nady agreed to a one-year, $6.55 million deal, while Cabrera signed a one-year deal worth $1.4 million.

The moves leave one other Yankee eligible for arbitration: Brian Bruney. The right-handed reliever earned $725,000 last year and has asked for $1.55 million, while the Yankees countered with $1.1 million.

Nady earned $3.59 million last season, and is likely to become a free agent after the 2009 season. Unless a trade changes the landscape, Nady is expected to be the Yankees' starting right fielder this year.

The 30-year-old was dealt to New York at the Trade Deadline last season and became an instant contributor, batting .268 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs in 59 games as the Yankees fought long odds in pursuit of a playoff berth.

Including his first-half stats with the Pirates, Nady hit .305 with 25 home runs and 97 RBIs. The Yankees have shopped Nady and Nick Swisher to clubs following the signing of first baseman Mark Teixeira, but no deal appears imminent and both could still report to Spring Training with the Yankees.

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Bruney, who turns 27 in February, figures to be a piece of the late-inning bullpen mix in helping to set up for closer Mariano Rivera. Bruney was 3-0 with one save and a 1.83 ERA in 32 appearances last season, walking 16 and striking out 33 in 34 1/3 innings.

Cabrera, 24, batted .249 with eight home runs and 37 RBIs in 129 games. The campaign was considered a disappointment, as Cabrera was sent to Triple-A in August.

Though it is believed that he has lost some favor in the Yankees' hierarchy, Cabrera will come into the spring competing with rookie Brett Gardner to be the Opening Day center fielder. He earned $461,200 last year and had asked for $1.7 million -- the Yankees offered $1.2 million before agreeing on a figure.

Hearings take place from Feb. 1-21. The Yankees were triumphant last year in an arbitration case over Chien-Ming Wang, paying him $4 million instead of the $4.6 million the right-hander was seeking. New York avoided arbitration with Wang this year by signing him to a $5 million contract in December.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.