Falling Arbitration Records

Back in April, I outlined the arbitration records for catchers, other position players, and starting pitchers.  As expected, some records will fall in 2012.

Going to arbitration for a fourth time, Mike Napoli is a lock to top Ivan Rodriguez's third-time catcher salary of $6.825MM.  Players have to love Super Two status.  Napoli's 2012 salary range is $8.3-11.5MM, with a $9.9MM midpoint.  We'll see whether long-term extension talks kick back up.

As first reported by MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith, Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury settled at $8.05MM for his second time through arbitration.  Ellsbury never had much chance at what I consider the second-time record, Miguel Cabrera's $11.3MM salary from 2007.  That salary was folded into a multiyear deal a few months after the agreement, but it remained unchanged.

The third-time position player record could be Prince Fielder's $15.5MM, though that was preceded by a multiyear deal.  Limiting it to year-to-year players, Alfonso Soriano's $10MM from 2006 fell with Andre Ethier's new $10.95MM deal, which could be topped again if Napoli or Hunter Pence win an arbitration hearing.  Pence's filing figures are $9MM and $11.8MM, with a $10.4MM midpoint.  He gets to cash in one more time as an arbitration eligible player in 2013, assuming he doesn't sign an extension with the Phillies.

This year David Price was unable to push past Dontrelle Willis' first-time starting pitcher settlement record of $4.35MM, set in 2006.  Some may consider Jered Weaver the record holder at $4.365MM, if an earned $100K award bonus is included.  Regardless, Clayton Kershaw crushes them all with his new $6.5-10MM range ($8.25MM midpoint).  Should Kershaw win an arbitration hearing or settle at the midpoint, he'll be at the Tim Lincecum pay scale.  The midpoint would beat Lincecum's first-time starting pitcher record filing figure of $8MM, which preceded his two-year deal.

The third-time starting pitcher record is Carlos Zambrano's $12.4MM.  With a $17-21.5MM spread and $19.25MM midpoint, Lincecum will fly past that, though he's coming off a multiyear deal.  Similarly, Cole Hamels settled at $15MM as a fourth-time arbitration player, but his first three years were covered in multiyear deal.  In a technical sense, Hamels' salary is second only to Fielder's $15.5MM in terms of arbitration settlements, and Lincecum will easily top both unless he signs a multiyear deal.

Be sure to keep track of all the arbitration settlements, submissions, and midpoints with MLBTR's arbitration tracker.



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