Major Arbitration Paydays For 2012

Last month we looked at the best players who will be arbitration eligible for the first time in 2012, including Andrew McCutchen, Clayton Kershaw, and David Price.  While the top names in that group will be well-compensated, none project to earn $10MM or more for the '12 season.  Which arbitration eligible players are headed toward that level of a payday?

  • Jered Weaver, Angels.  Even after losing an arbitration case to the Angels, Weaver stands to jump past $10MM with another $3MM+ raise.
  • Hunter Pence, Astros.  Pence won his arbitration case against the Astros, netting an extra $1.75MM.  Another $3MM+ jump will put him right around $10MM, and he's arbitration eligible twice more if he's not non-tendered.
  • Matt Garza, Cubs.  He's at $5.95MM currently, so a jump to $10MM seems unlikely.  He'll be arbitration eligible again after '12.  Jeremy Guthrie and Joe Saunders are working from similar salaries, while Francisco Liriano is over $1MM behind.
  • John Danks, White Sox.  Danks is paid $6MM this year, so he and Garza face a similar challenge in trying to make the leap to $10MM.
  • Carlos Quentin, White Sox.  Much is riding on Quentin's 2010.  If he has another 2008 he could get to $8MM or more and the White Sox won't mind.
  • Andre Ethier, Dodgers.  Ethier sees a non-tender after the season as a possibility, but that seems unlikely.  But whether it's the Dodgers or another club, Ethier should get around $12MM next year.
  • Matt Kemp, Dodgers.  Kemp will be coming from a $6.95MM salary, so he should also see his first $10MM+ payday.
  • Tim Lincecum, Giants.  Extension talks between Lincecum and the Giants are not expected during the season.  He'll be building on a $13MM salary, which might be even higher had he not signed a two-year deal previously.  This is a case to watch next offseason.  Lincecum's teammate Jonathan Sanchez probably won't make it to $10MM next year but he could be close.
  • Shin-Soo Choo, Indians.  Choo is operating from a strong $3.95MM first-time salary, which he could double next time around.  Nelson Cruz will operate from a slightly lower salary.
  • Luke Scott, Orioles.  Scott is not someone you usually think of as a $10MM player, but he's already at $6.4MM.  Another nice year will put him in the eight-figure range.    
  • Cole Hamels, Phillies.  Like Lincecum, Hamels signed a multiyear extension but left at least one arbitration year open.  He's already at $9.5MM this year.  Next year might cost $12-13MM, and then each free agent year should be priced at $20MM+. Hamels hopes to stay with the Phillies.
  • Mike Napoli, Rangers.  Napoli is already at $5.8MM, so the Rangers will have a tough decision as to whether to tender him a contract for '12.
  • Delmon Young, Twins.  Young will be paid $5.375MM this year, and another 100 RBI year should push him close to $10MM.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

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