Kotchman, Mariners agree to contract

SEATTLE -- Casey Kotchman and the Mariners agreed Wednesday to a one-year contract worth $3,517,500, settling Seattle's last salary arbitration case this year.

The Mariners announced the deal for the 26-year-old first baseman less than a month after they acquired him from the Boston Red Sox for outfielder Bill Hall.

The contract's value is exactly at the midpoint between the sides' proposals in arbitration.

Kotchman epitomizes second-year general manager Jack Zduriencik's push to rebuild the Mariners primarily with defense and pitching. Kotchman is a defensive standout who is expected to replace power hitter Russell Branyan in the Mariners' lineup.

He has not made an error in his last 185 games and 1,584 chances. He did not make an error in 114 games at first base for the Atlanta Braves and Red Sox in 2009, becoming the third first baseman in major league history with a minimum of 108 games at the position in a season to record a perfect fielding percentage.

Kotchman spent his first 5½ seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, who drafted him 13th overall in 2001.

He had asked for $3.9 million in arbitration and had been offered $3,135,000. He made $2,885,000 last year.

Seattle also sent first baseman Tommy Everidge outright to Triple-A Tacoma. The Mariners designated the power hitter for assignment last week to make room on their roster for newly signed Eric Byrnes. Everidge was claimed on waivers from the Oakland Athletics on Jan. 15.