Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel discusses the Marlins' difficult situation this winter, with as many as 18 players facing arbitration. Berardino projects salaries for these players in this chart.
As you may know, players typically reach arbitration the offseason after they cross the three-year service time mark. The resulting raise can be as much as 1000%, with Ryan Howard's case last year the most drastic example ($900K in '07, $10MM in '08). The Marlins' biggest jump figures to be second baseman Dan Uggla - $417K in 08, perhaps $5MM or more in '09. Most players face arbitration three times and then reach free agency. The player almost always gets a raise each year, and typically his salary cannot be cut by more than 20%. That's why Berardino projects injured pitcher Sergio Mitre going from $1.2MM to $960K.
December 12th is the deadline for tendering contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Teams can choose to let their arbitration-eligible players go, and then those players become free agents despite having less than six years of service time. David Ortiz may be the most famous example.
The Marlins figure to be open for business this winter - Berardino names Kevin Gregg, Scott Olsen, and Mike Jacobs as top trade candidates. Jorge Cantu is another possibility, and a blockbuster for Uggla can't be ruled out. The Marlins kept Miguel Cabrera until his second arbitration year, though.
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