Broxton and Martin Avoid Arbitration

All-Star catcher Russell Martin signed a one-year, $3.9 million contract and Jonathan Broxton has reportedly signed a one-year, $1.825 million contract plus incentives. That leaves only outfielder Andre Ethier unsigned. And outfielder Jason Repko, who only recently signed, has asked to be traded.

Broxton, who was 3-5 with a 3.13 ERA and 14 saves, had 88 strikeouts in 69 innings. He accepted a $1,825,000 deal after making $454,000 last year. He can earn an additional $50,000 each for 40, 45, 55 and 60 games finished. The right-hander is expected to become the Dodgers' new closer after Takashi Saito signed a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox.

Martin hit .280 with 13 home runs and 69 RBIs last season while making the NL All-Star team for the second consecutive time. A two-time All-Star, the 25-year-old Martin hit .280 with 13 home runs and 69 RBI last season. He will make $3.9 million in 2009 after taking home $500,000 in 2008.

"It was good to get that out of the way," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told the team's web site. "They can concentrate on the season without the distraction, which is a plus."

That leaves only outfielder Andre Ethier to formally exchange salary proposals with the club.

Tony Jackson of the Los Angeles Daily News reports that Ethier is seeking $3.75 million and the club is offering $2.56 million. Hearing dates, if it gets to that, will take place between Feb. 1 and Feb. 21.

The Dodgers have had only two hearings (Eric Gagné in 2004, Joe Beimel in 2007) since assistant GM Kim Ng has been handling these things, and the club won both of them. As you know, if it goes to a hearing, the arbitration panel (usually three people) must choose between the club's figure and the player's figure, with no deviation between. The sides still can negotiate a settlement before the hearings.

Ethier hit .305 with 38 doubles, 20 homers and 77 RBI, a good year by any measure. He made $424,500 last year.

Repko Wants to be Traded
Dodgers outfielder Jason Repko avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one- year contract that will pay him a $500,000 base salary and also carries the decidedly remote possibility of up to $87,500 in incentives. And Repko's agent, Dan Lozano, wishes the Dodgers would simply ship his client elsewhere. "For the last two years, we have been asking the Dodgers for a trade, both myself and Jason," Lozano said

The star-crossed outfielder, the Dodgers #1 pick in 1999, is going into his 11th year with the organization but the odds will be stacked against Repko in his effort to make the team out of spring training, even if the club doesn't re-sign Manny Ramirez.

Repko received a raise of $12,500 that boosts his contract to $500,000 and the deal also includes exactly the same incentives that appeared on Repko's contract in 2008, when he avoided arbitration and signed for $487,500: he will receive $12,500 for 100 plate appearances and another $25,000 for each of 150, 250 and 350 plate appearances.

However, he came to bat just 20 times in the majors, in between batting .283 for Triple-A Las Vegas and staying healthy for a full season for the first time in three years.

WBC rosters The Dodgers won't be hit too hard by the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Jonathan Broxton (USA) and Russell Martin (Canada) were the only frontline Dodgers players who appeared on any of them.

Non-roster pitcher Brian Mazone and outfielder Valentino Pascucci both showed up on Italy's provisional roster, as well as top shortstop prospect Ivan De Jesus Jr. (Puerto Rico) and minor-league catcher Kenley Jansen (Netherlands), Juan Castro (Mexico), B.J. LaMura and Eric Cyr are also on the Canadian roster. Fernando Valenzuela will coach once again for Mexico, Rod Delmonico, the father of 2008 Dodgers draft pick Tony Delmonico, will manage the Netherlands team.

Dodgers who will not play are Andre Ethier (Mexico), Chin-lung Hu (Taiwan), Hong-Chih Kuo (Taiwan), Hiroki Kuroda (Japan), Ramon Troncoso (Dominican Republic). And just because, Andruw Jones isn't on the Netherlands roster.

Newcombe Thrilled for Obama
As Barack Obama took over the controls of the country, former Brooklyn pitcher Don Newcombe told the New York Daily News, "I cannot put into words what that means to me."

The former Dodger pitching great, a teammate of Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, is also a testament that anything is possible in America.

"You're white, you can never know the life we had to live," the 82-year-old Newcombe said. "You can't feel it. You can empathize but you can't grasp the things we had to endure to try to be somebody. You didn't live through what our parents and our grandparents lived through for only one reason - the color of our skin."

The 6-foot-4 right-hander who joined the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1949 season, and continues to do community and charity work for the Dodger organization, two years after Robinson had blazed a trail that other blacks could follow.

When Obama became the 44th President of the United States, Newcombe said, "I broke down and cried."

What was he thinking about? "I wished Jackie were here to see this," he said.

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