Final-Year Arbitration-Eligibles

More than 50 players will be eligible for arbitration for the last time after this season.  For some it will represent the biggest payday of their careers to this point.  Other useful but overpaid players will be non-tendered and will reach free agency a year early.  Here's a look at the final-year arbitration class, with 2010 base salaries included.  Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

Expected To Be Tendered Contracts

Non-Tender Candidates

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50 Responses to Final-Year Arbitration-Eligibles Leave a Reply

  1. Guest 5 years ago

    I’m actually kind of surprised to see Matt Diaz on there. The Braves love the guy and they aren’t exactly overloaded with lots of talent in their outfield. Plus, he absolutely rakes left-handed pitching in a lineup that doesn’t hit lefties very well. Not a guy I’m expected to be non-tendered.

    • inkstainedscribe 5 years ago

      Good point. It’s not as if he’s blocking anybody in the minors. Besides, he’ll hardly set any records with a contract he could get in arb.

    • Yes, but keep in mind that it’s a candidate list, so it’s just that I think there is some chance. Same with Zach Duke…I wouldn’t call him a likely non-tender. I like to cast a wide net for candidates, because even last year I never considered Capps.

      • Guest 5 years ago

        Fair enough.

      • tomymogo 5 years ago

        Melky Cabrera, definitely gets non-tendered I think.

        • 14 Rocks 5 years ago

          Why? I would keep Melky over Diaz. He is much younger, a switch hitter and can play all three outfield positions. And you might want to check the stats, Melky has been hitting the ball a lot better than Diaz too.

          • tomymogo 5 years ago

            But 4 million for Melky is a lot. And he is a bench player.

          • 14 Rocks 5 years ago

            He has started 114 games this year. I would prefer him in CF over Ankiel any day of the week.

  2. Guest 5 years ago

    Nice work, Tim!

    Any chance that you or someone else from your site might do a list similar to this one, but for out of options players that a decision will have to be made on? And also one for ‘top’ prospects who will have to go onto 40-man rosters this winter (in order to not be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft)? That would be a great read. And make for some really fun discussion!

  3. KoKotheMonkey 5 years ago

    So if teams don’t offer a player a contract when he’s arb-eligible, he becomes a free agent? Is that unique to final year arb players or is that always the case? One more question: if the player becomes a free agent before 6 years of service time, does a club that picks him up still have to treat that new player as an arb player, or is he a free agent in the fullest sense of the word?

    • $1529282 5 years ago

      The club can always non-tender someone pre-free agency. Final years are just more common since that’s when they’re really going to get paid.

      If he signs elsewhere, he’s still arb-eligible. Matt Capps is a good example; non-tendered by Pittsburgh, signed by Washington, traded to the Twins, and now arbitration-eligible for his final season, despite having technically signed as a free agent once. Kelly Johnson is the same way in Arizona.

  4. TwinsVet 5 years ago

    Once again, Tim insists on including JJ Hardy to the list of non-tender candidates. His bat is very solid since the break, his defense is very sound, and he’s the Twins best option for SS next year. AND his presence makes Punto’s $5M option an easy decline.

    There’s no reason whatsoever to presume the Twins would non-tender Hardy.

    C’mon Tim. You’re better than this.

    • It is a weird little fascination. Hardy has had a bumpy ride since his 6″ short of a walk off homer resulted in a banged up wrist, but his play when he’s in there has been very solid. I can’t see how Trevor Plouffe has distinguished himself enough to consider JJ expendable.

      • $1529282 5 years ago

        Even if they want to give Plouffe the shot, make it as a second baseman and decline Punto’s option. If they really wanna keep LNP around, do it at a reduced price. No one’s gonna want him for $5MM anyway. We can buy out that option and re-sign him for $2MM.

        Of course, it’d be at the expense of Valencia and Plouffe. No way Gardy can not start Nicky five days a week… well, minus the three yearly DL stints he gets because he still doesn’t know how to slide, of course.

        • TwinsVet 5 years ago

          I think Casilla’s stock has risen within the organization (in fact, Gardy declared Sunday morning at AM1500 that it has), and they’re more likely to give Casilla the starting 2B role next year – unless Plouffe can beat him out in Ft. Myers. Valencia-Hardy-Casilla around the horn is the most likely scenario at this point. That’s actually a VERY cheap infield, and helps them absorb arbitration increases and Morneau/Mauer contracts.

    • $1529282 5 years ago

      Agreed that Hardyy shouldn’t be non-tendered (already worth 1.8 wins, and his bat’s been strong since his last DL stint), but his contract does at least make him worth having on the list. It won’t happen, don’t get me wrong, but you’re not talking about the Buccos non-tendering Andrew McCutchen or the Rockies non-tendering Carlos Gonzalez here.Hardy at $6-7MM next year is at least close enough to the realm of plausibility that his name can at least cross one’s mind. It’s “non-tender candidates,” not “likely to be non-tendered.”

      • TwinsVet 5 years ago

        Granted, it’s a “candidate” list, but technically all arbitration-eligible players are non-tender candidates. I’m just observing that Tim seems to have set an incredibly low “plausibility” standard in the case of Hardy.

        • Likely, no. Possible, definitely. I’d give it at least a 10% chance, and that’s not an incredibly low standard in my book. There’s no need to launch into an impassioned Hardy defense.

          • TwinsVet 5 years ago

            Put it this way; he’s less likely to be non-tendered than Capps. If Nathan looks good when he starts throwing off the mound this winter, the Twins may very well decide they’d rather not pay $7M to an 8th inning guy. Of course, Capps will probably be necessary as an insurance policy as TJ recovery in 12 months is fairly uncommon.

            I just can’t find a good reason the Twins would consider non-tendering Hardy. It would mean having to keep Punto around for almost the same price, and it’s not like there’s some great free agent targets out there this winter that have a better cost-to-performance.

            Face it, Tim. You’re a deity in the baseball blogosphere. But heretics are always going to be critical of those players on the fringes of your speculation. And Hardy is one on that fringe, IMHO. I actually enjoy that you put your candidate list out there – if you didn’t, we’d have alot less to discuss here on the boards.


        • Nicolas_C 5 years ago

          $7 million for a shortstop that puts up average offensive numbers at best and soild defense is no definite, especially in this case. If you didn’t notice, both Hardy and Punto have put up equal WAR this year, in about the same number of PA’s. Punto is also liked much more by Gardy and can be had for cheaper.

          • TwinsVet 5 years ago

            Except the Twins front office doesn’t use WAR. They’re one of the last sabremetrics-holdouts in the majors.

            Punto and Hardy don’t even compare. Punto is older, and it’s starting to show. He also lacks 5 HR potential, let alone 25.

            Trust me, Punto’s stock is falling within the organization, and they’re ready to move on from him next year. Gardy talks of Casilla and Valencia like he used to talk about Punto.

            LNP is an afterthought when the front office plots out 2011.

          • Nicolas_C 5 years ago

            Well, that’s disappointing for them then…

            Punto may be older but I don’t see Hardy in Minny beyond 2011 anyway and I don’t think Punto’s defense is beginning to decline quite yet. If it’s a question for 2011, Punto would be more worth the value because his option could be declined and he could be signed for probably $3 million at most.

            I’m not a Twins fan so I don’t know about the other stuff, I just know he’s always been liked.

          • TwinsVet 5 years ago

            You were right – Punto (“LNP” to us locals) has been a favorite of Gardy over the years. But listening to Gardy’s weekly radio show, I’m hearing that bromance start to fade.

            I think Hardy is a candidate for 2yr/$10m offer, or Punto possibly 2yr/$6m. It *could* be a matter of which one is more willing to rework their contract that determines which stays in MN longer.

            But Hardy’s relative youth, higher ceiling, perceived better defense at SS, and Smith stating he traded Gomez for a long-term SS solution – all these lead me to believe Hardy is vastly more likely to be around in 2011 than Punto.

      • myname_989 5 years ago

        I agree. The first thing I thought when seeing JJ Hardy’s name on this list was, “Is this guy really worth a possible 7MM dollars in arbitration?” I don’t think so. Granted, I understand the Twins don’t have many options, experience wise, and may want to get their younger guys some more time in the minors.

        Maybe they would consider picking up Nick Punto’s option, and non-tendering JJ Hardy. Punto’s defense is better, and his on-base percentage is higher. For what it’s worth, Nick Punto has been worth 1.8 wins as well. Granted, both are injury prone players with limited upside, so neither are worth a big investment.

        JJ Hardy should definitely be considered as a non-tender candidate.

        • I asked around to some people to make sure I am not crazy, and they all considered Hardy a non-tender candidate. If I had to put a number on it, I’d change my “at least 10% chance” thought to something more firm like 35%.

          That said, I think if the Twins do feel that Hardy is not worth the money for 2011 they would find a taker in a trade.

        • JoeBraga 5 years ago

          Punto’s defense is not better. By both anecdotal observation and statistical analysis JJ Hardy is one of the best defensive players in baseball.

          • myname_989 5 years ago

            I may have been a little quick to the gun to say that Punto’s fielding is “better,” per se, but both guys are highly skilled defensively, both being a model of consistency on the field. That being said, Punto can play all over the diamond, giving the Twins more options, and has posted double digit UZR’s several times in his career. I’d still take Punto at 5MM than Hardy at 7MM, for his versatility alone.

    • JoeBraga 5 years ago

      I agree… unfortunately this site is starting to lose credibility in my mind…

      • ATLfanboy 5 years ago

        LOL. This site aggregates rumors and speculation, how much credibility did you give it to start with?

  5. Guest 5 years ago

    Isn’t Jack Cust entering his final year of arbitration eligibility? Or do arbitration years become null and void once you’ve been non-tendered once?

    If he’s eligible, I bet he gets non-tendered, even if they’re considering re-signing him (which I don’t think they will, this time). The A’s DH slot has Chris Carter’s name written all over it, in my opinion. He doesn’t look too good in the outfield. And I don’t see Daric Barton going anywhere (at least I hope not).

    • Not sure but he may have been in the minors enough to miss having 5.0 years service time after this season. Still arb-eligible of course.

    • iains 5 years ago

      Arbitration years carry over even after a non-tender. I’m pretty certain Frank Catalanotto’s second year in Toronto was an arb year.

      • Guest 5 years ago

        Thanks. Cust is definitely a non-tender candidate, then. And would have been, even if he hadn’t spent the first 6 weeks of this season in AAA Sacramento. They should add him to this list.

  6. knoxfire30 5 years ago

    papelbon gets tendered and jenks doesnt? i think both those guys should be non tendered

    • jwredsox 5 years ago

      Papelbon is a lot better than Jenks don’t be crazy here.

      • knoxfire30 5 years ago

        crazy would be paying a closer 11 or 12 mil who is 29 for 35 in saves

        • jwredsox 5 years ago

          Not with Paps track record

          • You mean the track record of getting worse and worse since 2007?

          • ronny9 5 years ago

            Name me 15 relievers that are better than Papelbon. Honestly name 15; not guys having a better 4 or 5 months than Papelbon. 15 that are better relievers, guys that have the career numbers he’s got.

            There are around 225 relievers in the Majors at any given time. Even if he were somwhere in the top 30 (which i think is a dramatic understatement) he would be in the top 15 percentile of relievers in the game.

            A large market team can pay a top reliever top dollar. Next year the Sox will do so. He will be in a contract year and for his career he is 180 for 204 in save opps (88 percent conversion rating) and has a career playoff era of 1.00.

          • myname_989 5 years ago

            That might be the stupidest argument I’ve ever heard. Considering that he’s tied for third in the league in blown saves, I’d say that a lot of closers in the league have been more effective than he this year, and most at a fraction of the cost. With numbers that have been declining over the past three years, there is no reason that the Red Sox should spend 11MM dollars per year on him, especially when they have a closer waiting in the wings in Daniel Bard, who’s numbers are better, and makes less than a tenth of what Papelbon will earn in arbitration.

            Paplebon: 8.17 K/9; 1.06 HR/9; BABIP .248; FIP 4.06; 2010 WAR = .5
            Bard: 9.56 K/9; 0.84 HR/9; BABIP .216; FIP 3.24; 2010 WAR = 1.3

            Not only has Bard been dominant this year, he’s got closer stuff, with a live fastball and a decent change-up and slider. By non-tendering the declining Papelbon and installing Bard as the closer, the Red Sox are saving roughly 10MM dollars, which will go a long way in revamping their bullpen, which has been nothing short of terrible this year. All the while actually UPGRADING in the closer’s role.

  7. Brian Fuentes isn’t on either list, why?

    • myname_989 5 years ago

      Um… Because Brian Fuentes is past his arbitration eligible years and is under contract with the Angels? A while back, Tim posted that it’s unlikely that Fuentes reaches the quota of 55 games finished for his option to vest, so he’s likely going to become a free agent after this season anyway.

      That being said, this post has nothing to do with the likes of Brian Fuentes, since he’s past his arbitration eligibility by like 2 years or so.

  8. ZeroZeroZero 5 years ago

    A lot of people thought that the Yankees were crazy for non-tendering Wang last off season but it looks like Brian Cashman knew exactly what he was doing.

  9. tbo1221 5 years ago

    I don’t see Joel Zumaya being non-tendered. He’ll be ready next year and having his arm in the bullpen for a couple million isn’t a big risk.

  10. tbo1221 5 years ago

    I don’t see Joel Zumaya getting non-tendered. He’ll be ready next year and for a couple million it’s not a big risk to have his arm in the bullpen

    • ……But then his elbow blows out for the millionth time just doing a bullpen session. And what if it turns into Erik Bedard where he’s supose to come back late may, then it june, then it july, then the years over. (just sayin’.)

      • tbo1221 5 years ago

        i realize that can happen, but for a couple million i’d take a chance like that. Bullpen arms come in handy

    • Both Zumaya and Miner could be non tendered. If Zumaya is offered a contract, it won’t be for any more than he got in 2010, nor is he likely to get an increase if it goes to arbitration. I’m ready to move on.

  11. alxn 5 years ago

    Can’t imagine anyone paying Papelbon that much money to be an average closer.

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