Yesterday we looked at the arbitration records for starting pitchers. Today let's check out the records for catchers who went year-to-year.
- First time: Russell Martin – $3.9MM (2009)
- Second time: Russell Martin – $5.05MM (2010)
- Third time: Ivan Rodriguez – $6.825MM (1997)
Martin owns two of the records, as he'd compiled excellent numbers through the '08 season. Once he got to a $3.9MM base, it was easy for him to remain on top even with a down '09. The arbitration process had Martin exceeding his free agent value during the most recent offseason, resulting in a non-tender by the Dodgers. I doubt Martin minded, since he was able to choose his team and get a guaranteed contract. The Yankees can retain Martin for 2012, as he'll still be arbitration eligible.
As MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith mentioned yesterday, the Cubs' Geovany Soto is currently on the year-to-year path after scoring $3MM in his first arbitration year. He'll need to top a $2.05MM raise in the upcoming offseason to beat Martin's second-time salary. That possibility is heavily dependent on what Soto does in 2011. Arizona's Miguel Montero is going year-to-year right now and Nick Hundley is heading for his first arbitration year, but they're not threatening any records.
I'm not sure about a fourth time record, but if tendered a contract the Rangers' Mike Napoli could be around $8MM. Martin probably won't be that high, plus his arbitration years were interrupted by free agency. Of course, Napoli is as much a first baseman/designated hitter as he is a catcher.