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Royals exchange figures with four

Royals exchange figures with four

KANSAS CITY -- Now we know what pitcher Zack Greinke and three other Kansas City players think they're worth in 2009.

Greinke and the Royals were a million bucks apart on Tuesday as teams and players filed their numbers in the salary arbitration process. Greinke asked for $4.4 million and the Royals countered at $3.4 million.

Many cases are settled at around the midpoint before going to a hearing. In Greinke's case, the midpoint is $3.9 million.

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The other figures for the Royals:

Outfielder Mark Teahen asked for $3.85 million, the Royals filed for $3.05 million. Midpoint: $3.45 million.

First baseman Mike Jacobs asked for $3.8 million, the Royals filed for $2.75 million. Midpoint: $3.275 million.

Pitcher Brian Bannister asked for $2.025 million, the Royals filed for $1.45 million. Midpoint: $1.7375 million.

Greinke made a successful return to full-time starter last year and went 13-10 with a 3.47 ERA. Teahen batted .255 with 15 homers, 59 RBIs. Jacobs had 32 homers, 93 RBIs and hit .247 for the Marlins. Bannister was 9-16 with a 5.76 ERA for KC.

Jacobs is seeking a raise of $3.405 million over the $395,000 he made last year from the Marlins. This is the first time that Jacobs and Bannister have been arbitration eligible and whopper increases are common. Bannister made $421,000 last year.

Other salaries last year were $1.4 million for Greinke and $2.3375 million for Teahen as both settled prior to a hearing.

When cases go to a hearing, the arbitrators must take one figure or the other, there is no in-between. Hearings will be scheduled Feb. 1-21.

Earlier Tuesday, the Royals beat the exchange of figures by signing catcher John Buck and pitcher Joel Peralta to one-year contracts.

Buck signed for $2.9 million, up from the $2.2 million he earned last year. Peralta got a raise to $640,000 from $450,000. The signings mean that the two players will avoid arbitration hearings.

Buck last season batted .224 with nine home runs and 48 RBIs. Peralta had a 1-2 record and a 5.98 ERA in 40 relief appearances.

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The Royals already have indicated that Miguel Olivo will be the primary catcher next season, a reversal of his role to start 2008. Buck last year started 106 games at catcher to Olivo's 56.

Buck, although considered excellent defensively, has not hit with the production the Royals expected. His .224 average followed a .222 mark in 2007 and he's had 48 RBIs in each of the last two seasons. Last year his home-run output dropped in half, to nine from 18.

"I do need to make improvements on putting the ball [in play] a little more consistently," Buck said after the season. "But my approach has gotten better as far as my two-strike approach and I got more walks, but there's still room for improvement and that's why we've got these offseasons -- to make improvements."

After being obtained from the Astros in mid-2004, Buck took over as the primary catcher and held that role over the past four seasons.

Peralta had a fine 2007 season, posting a 3.80 ERA in 62 relief outings, but was unable to make the Opening Day roster last year. After being recalled, he was hurt by home runs and gave up 15 in 40 games.

Now playing for Gigantes in the Dominican Winter League finals against Licey, Peralta believes he's discovered a flaw in his delivery. In the Dominican, he had an 8.18 ERA in 15 regular-season games but sliced that to 1.64 in 10 playoff games.

"I was working on my delivery and I think I got it back. I'm throwing hard and the ball is down," he said. "I think I was showing the ball too early out of my glove."

The club previously reached agreements with pitchers Jimmy Gobble and Kyle Davies and infielder Esteban German to avoid arbitration.

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

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