The Dodgers have avoided arbitration with reliever Hong-Chih Kuo by agreeing to a one-year, $2.725MM contract with the southpaw, reports MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Kuo can earn an extra $700K in incentives, with $600K of those bonuses related to games finished, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. This was Kuo's second year of arb-eligibility and he is represented by the Octagon sports agency.
Kuo, 29, is coming off an All-Star season that saw him post a 1.20 ERA, a 4.06 K/BB ratio and an 11.0 K/9 rate in 56 relief appearances with L.A. The 56 games pitched was a career-high for Kuo, who was pitched on consecutive days just four times all season in an attempt to keep him fresh, given Kuo's past elbow injuries. Over the last three seasons, Kuo has a 1.96 ERA in 133 games and has averaged 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
The Taiwanese left-hander recorded 21 holds and also 12 saves, taking over the closing job from Jonathan Broxton in mid-August. Broxton has been pencilled into the closer's job headed into Los Angeles' Spring Training, but Kuo performed well enough that the Dodgers wouldn't hesitate to put him at the back of their bullpen if Broxton struggles again.
As you can see on MLBTR's Arbtracker, the settled contract is worth slightly below the midpoint of the numbers submitted by Kuo and the club earlier this month — Kuo was looking for $3.08MM, and the Dodgers were offering $2.55MM. James Loney is the only arb-eligible Dodger who has yet to settle on a contract for 2011.