February 06, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker and Oakland pitcher Jarrod Parker took their salary cases to arbitration in what could develop into a winter with the most hearings since 2001.

A day after the Miami Marlins beat pitcher Mat Latos in the first decision of the year, infielder Danny Valencia defeated Toronto on Friday and will be paid $1,675,000 rather than the Blue Jays' offer of $1.2 million.

In addition to the four players who already have appeared before three-person arbitration panels, 21 players are scheduled for hearings through Feb. 20.

There were just three decisions last year and none in 2013, down from seven in 2012. There could be the most hearings this year since teams won eight of 14 in 2001.

Walker asked Gil Vernon, Steven Wolf and Mark Burstein for a raise from $5.75 million to $9 million, and the Pirates argued for $8 million. The 29-year-old hit .271 with a career-high 23 homers and drove in 76 runs.

Parker, a 26-year-old right-hander, asked Elizabeth Neumeier, Robert Herzog and Mark Irvings for a raise from $500,000 to $1.7 million, while the Athletics offered $850,000. Parker missed the entire season after having elbow ligament-replacement surgery for the second time.

Valencia batted .258 last year with four homers and 30 RBIs for Kansas and Toronto, which acquired him July 28.

Arbitrators James Oldham, Sylvia Skratek and Edna Francis made their decision Friday, a day after hearing arguments.

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