2011 Contract Issues Rumors

2011 Contract Issues: Texas Rangers

The Rangers face three contractual options after the season:

  • Reliever Darren Oliver has a $3.25MM club option with a $500K buyout.  The salary becomes guaranteed with 59 appearances; Oliver is on track with ten so far.
  • Rich Harden and Vladimir Guerrero have mutual options, at $11MM and $9MM respectively.  These don't have much purpose, aside from pushing $2MM worth of buyouts to the offseason.  Vlad's $1MM buyout disappears if he declines the option.

The Rangers have a pair of free agents in Frank Francisco and Matt Treanor.  If they both leave, it'll free up around $4MM.  They'll also clear $6.75MM in buyouts and obligations paid to Kevin Millwood, Frank Catalanotto, and Vicente Padilla.  The Rangers will free up $12MM paid to Harden and Guerrero, less the $2MM in buyouts.  All told, they have roughly $20MM coming off the books if everyone but Oliver leaves.

Increases to players under contract total $5.225MM, with Ian Kinsler, Scott Feldman, and Colby Lewis getting small bumps.  First-time arbitration eligibles include Nelson Cruz, David Murphy, Darren O'Day, and Jarrod SaltalamacchiaJosh Hamilton, Dustin Nippert, and Ryan Garko are in the second-time group, while C.J. Wilson, Brandon McCarthy, and Chris Ray are eligible for a third time.  There will be some decent raises in that mix, especially Cruz, Hamilton, and Wilson.  Still, it appears the Rangers will have millions to spend even before raising payroll.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

2011 Contract Issues: Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates face one contractual option after the season.  For closer Octavio Dotel, they can choose a $4.5MM salary or a $500K buyout.  Dotel's strikeout and walk rates have been typical so far, but he's allowed 15 hits and three home runs in 9.3 innings.

Akinori Iwamura, Brendan Donnelly, and Bobby Crosby will also be eligible for free agency after the season.  They're earning a total of $7.2MM this year.  If Dotel's option is declined, the Pirates will have $11.2MM coming off the books.

Increases to players under contract are light, with a total of $2.8MM.  The Pirates have a big arbitration class though.  First-time candidates include Joel Hanrahan, Lastings Milledge, Andy LaRoche, Delwyn Young, and possibly Ross OhlendorfD.J. Carrasco and Jack Taschner could be second-timers.  Zach Duke and Ronny Cedeno are third-time candidates, while Ryan Church and Javier Lopez fit into the fourth-time class.  There will be non-tenders in the mix, but it appears that the Pirates will have to raise payroll to retain all their key players.  That shouldn't be a problem, since their Opening Day payroll was only $39MM. 

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

2011 Contract Issues: Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies face two contractual options after the season:

  • Lefty reliever J.C. Romero has a $4.5MM club option with a $250K buyout.  The 33-year-old had flexor tendon surgery in October of last year, returning to a big league mound last Friday.
  • Backup infielder Juan Castro has a $750K club option with a $50K buyout.

Four more players will be eligible for free agency: Jamie Moyer, Jayson Werth, Chad Durbin, and Jose Contreras.  Talks with Werth are currently at an impasse.  These four account for $18.625MM in 2010 salaries.  If all six players leave, and we include buyouts that will be paid this year to Adam Eaton, Pedro Feliz, and Geoff Jenkins, the Phillies have about $26MM coming off the books.

Raises to players under contract should swallow about $21MM of that freed up money.  Roy Halladay has the biggest increase, as his salary rises $4.25MM and the Blue Jays won't be sending $6MM again.  Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino also see increases north of $2MM.  Arbitration cases are light – Kyle Kendrick and Ben Francisco are first-timers, while Greg Dobbs would fit into the third-time class.

It appears that holding payroll steady and allowing all free agents to leave would give the Phillies a few million bucks to spend.  They won't have the flexibility to add top or mid-tier players in the 2010-11 offseason unless they raise payroll or dump a contract via trade.

2011 Contract Issues: San Diego Padres

The Padres face four contractual options after the season:

  • Starting pitcher Chris Young has an $8.5MM club option.  This year he made his April 6th debut start before hitting the disabled list with a strain of his surgically-repaired shoulder.  This DL stint appears minor, but looking at the bigger picture the Padres will likely decline Young's option.
  • Adrian Gonzalez's $5.5MM club option for 2011 is a mere formality.
  • The Padres have a pair of mutual options in Jon Garland and Yorvit Torrealba.  It's rare to see both sides exercise such an option.

Four more players are up for free agency: Kevin Correia, David Eckstein, Jerry Hairston Jr., and Matt Stairs.  The four make a combined $7.425MM in 2010.  Young, Garland, and Torrealba make $11.7MM, bringing the total freed up to $19.125MM (minus a million or so in buyouts).  So, about $18MM will come off the books if everyone but Gonzalez leaves.

Gonzalez will get a $750K bump; that's it for players under contract.  First-time arbitration-eligibles include Tony Gwynn Jr., Edward Mujica, and Tim StaufferMike Adams will go for a second time, while Heath Bell and Scott Hairston go for a third.  Regarding Bell, we may have overestimated his potential raise in suggesting earlier that he could double his $4MM salary.  Think $6-7MM instead.

Even holding payroll at $38MM and retaining all arbitration-eligible players, the Padres would have over $10MM to spend in the winter of 2010-11.  A few midseason trades, a handful of non-tenders, and a higher payroll would increase the spending money.

2011 Contract Issues: Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles face two contractual options after the season:

  • First baseman Garrett Atkins has an $8.5MM club option with a $500K buyout.  Barring a miraculous return to his 2006 abilities, the Orioles will decline.
  • Lefty reliever Mark Hendrickson has a $1.2MM club option with a $200K buyout.  Much too early to call.

Paying a $500K buyout to Atkins means shaving $3.5MM off the payroll.  The Orioles can free up nearly $30MM in additional funds, since Kevin Millwood, Miguel Tejada, Koji Uehara, Ty Wigginton, and others are up for free agency.  They'll also trim $1.5MM in buyouts paid to Melvin Mora and Chad Moeller.  The Orioles will shed $32.85MM if they let all their free agents go aside from Hendrickson.

On the increase side, there's a $3.5MM bump for Nick Markakis.  The Orioles have three first-time arbitration players in Adam Jones, Jim Johnson, and Felix PieJeremy Guthrie, Cla Meredith, and Matt Albers will go for a second time, Luke Scott a third.  The Orioles should have at least $15MM to play with even if they hold payroll steady and tender everyone a contract.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

2011 Contract Issues: Washington Nationals

The Nationals face one contractual option after the season.  Second baseman Adam Kennedy has a $2MM club option with a $500K buyout.  Of course, it's too early to tell if Kennedy can reprise his offensive success of '09 and post a solid defensive season.

Aside from Kennedy, nearly $24MM could be freed up with departing free agents.  Adam Dunn ($12MM) and Cristian Guzman ($8MM) make up the bulk.  Talks for a Dunn extension have quieted.  The Nationals will be free of their commitment to Austin Kearns, who received a $1MM buyout this year.

Increases to players under contract are mild, made up mostly of Ryan Zimmerman's $2.675MM bump.  The Nats have several notable arbitration cases after the season.  John Lannan goes for the first time, while Sean Burnett and Jesus Flores go for a second.  Third-timers include Josh Willingham, Matt Capps, and Scott Olsen.  Fourth-timers are interesting too, with Chien-Ming Wang and Brian Bruney in the mix.  Recent history says the Nationals won't be shy about going to hearings if necessary.

Assuming Dunn leaves, the Nationals will have money to work with even if they hold payroll steady.  It might be another active offseason for Washington.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

2011 Contract Issues: New York Mets

The Mets face two contractual options after the season:

  • Jose Reyes has an $11MM club option with a $500K buyout.  Reyes may be off to a slow start, but it's difficult to see the Mets declining.
  • Alex Cora's $2MM for 2011 vests with 80 starts.  He probably won't get there, but sometimes there's still a club option if it does not vest.

The Mets could free up Cora's $2MM, plus another $8MM or so for other departing free agents.  They aren't big names – only Pedro Feliciano and Kelvim Escobar are earning over $1MM in 2010.

On the other side of the ledger, the Mets' increases to players under contract total $16.5MM.  Jason Bay leads with a $9.5MM bump, while David Wright has a $4MM increase.

Expect non-tenders in the arbitration bunch, but the Mets' projected first-time players include Mike Pelfrey, Fernando Nieve, and Manny AcostaSean Green goes for the second time, while Jeff Francoeur, John Maine, and Angel Pagan are third-timers.

It appears that the Mets will have to raise payroll by over $10MM in 2011 just to cover raises to their current players.  They might need to get back to the $140 millions to have room in the budget for quality additions.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

2011 Contract Issues: Florida Marlins

The Marlins face no contractual options after the season.  They'll have four free agents in Jorge Cantu, Wes Helms, Mike Lamb, and Nate Robertson.  Letting them go would free up nearly $8MM, most of it representing Cantu's salary.

However, that potential savings will be balanced out by raises to two star players under contract: Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson.  Each gets a $4MM bump in 2011.

If the Marlins plan to retain their arbitration-eligible players, payroll must continue to increase.  They've got Burke Badenhop and Brett Carroll as first-timers.  Leo Nunez, Anibal Sanchez, Ronny Paulino, and Renyel Pinto will go to arbitration for the second time.  The big names go for a third time: Dan Uggla, Cody Ross, and Ricky Nolasco.  Maybe non-tenders and trades will pare the Marlins' arbitration list, but it includes their closer, setup man, second baseman, right fielder, and two members of the rotation.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

2011 Contract Issues: Seattle Mariners

The Mariners face three contractual options after the season:

  • Ian Snell has a $6.75MM club option.  If Snell's 2010 work resembles his 2008-09 performance, they'll let him go.
  • Jose Lopez has a $4.5MM club option with a $250K buyout.  If the option is declined, Lopez will still be arbitration-eligible.  Lopez may be traded at some point, but the option appears likely to be exercised.
  • Erik Bedard has an $8MM mutual option that can increase based on performance.  As usual, we find it unlikely for both sides to exercise.

The Mariners free agents after the season include Cliff Lee, Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Sweeney, and Eric Byrnes.  The group is earning over $12MM this year, led by Lee.  About $18MM will be freed up if everyone aside from Lopez departs.

An additional $11.5MM must be allocated toward players under contract, with Felix Hernandez's $3.5MM the biggest bump.  The Mariners will owe raises to Ryan Rowland-Smith, Garrett Olson, Jack Hannahan, Sean White, and Jason Vargas as first-time arbitration players.  David Aardsma and Mark Lowe go for a second time, Brandon League a third, and Casey Kotchman a fourth.  Some of these players figure to be non-tendered.

Despite a busy offseason, the Mariners trimmed payroll by about $8MM this year according to Cot's Baseball Contracts.  Payroll will have to come back up for the Mariners to have spending money in the offseason.

2011 Contract Issues: Cleveland Indians

The Indians face three contract options after the season:

  • Since he's still on the disabled list, there's no chance Kerry Wood gets the 55 games finished needed to make his $11MM 2011 option vest.  It'll stay a club option, and the Indians (or any other team) will very likely decline.
  • Third baseman Jhonny Peralta, also a trade candidate, faces a $7MM club option with a $250K buyout.  This will be declined barring a surprising season.
  • Russell Branyan has a $5MM mutual option, and I'm not expecting both sides to exercise.

The Indians are paying Wood, Peralta, and Branyan $17.1MM this year.  They'll free up another $14.1MM with other departing free agents, led by Jake Westbrook's $11MM.

Players under contract will receive a total of $4.6MM in raises, led by Grady Sizemore with a $1.9MM bump.  The Indians also have multiple first-time arbitration players, led by Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal CabreraRafael Perez will go for a second time.  With over $30MM coming off the books, the Indians could lower payroll even further and still cover their raises easily.  Aside from Travis Hafner's contract, the Indians are looking lean for 2011.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.