Yankees, Brian Roberts finalize deal

Brian Roberts of the Baltimore Orioles cools off Brian Roberts of the Baltimore Orioles cools off before a game against the Atlanta Braves. (June 16, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Brian Roberts and the Yankees have completed their one-year, $2-million contract, a deal that allows the second baseman to earn $4.6 million if he becomes a regular starter.

The contract was agreed to on Dec. 17 and finalized Tuesday, three days after a spot on the 40-man roster opened when Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the season for violations of baseball's drug agreement and labor contract.

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The 36-year-old Roberts, an All-Star in 2005 and 2007, is an option to replace Robinson Cano, who signed with Seattle. Roberts, who had spent his entire 13-year major-league career with Baltimore, has not played a full season since 2009 because of injuries. He hit .249 with eight homers and 39 RBIs in 77 games last year.

In addition to his base salary, Roberts can earn $2.6 million in performance bonuses based on plate appearances: $175,000 each for 250 and 300; $250,000 apiece for 350 and 400; $300,000 each for 450 and 500; $350,000 for 550; and $400,000 apiece for 600 and 650.

Roberts raises the Yankees' luxury-tax payroll to about $165 million, including benefits -- the exact amount is uncertain pending a determination on how Rodriguez will be accounted for. Rodriguez originally was listed at $27.5 million, but arbitrator Fredric Horowitz ruled the suspension will cost him 162/183rds of his $25-million salary this year, which comes to $22,131,148.

The Yankees hope to be under the $189-million tax threshold this year.

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