Arbitration Eligibles: Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series.  With 15 arbitration eligible players, the O's have the largest group of any team.  Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

Let's begin dissecting this massive group by looking at the pure relievers: Johnson, O'Day, and Patton.  As a pitch-to-contact, groundball-oriented guy, Johnson is not your prototypical closer.  However, it'd be hard for the Orioles to argue against a 51-save platform year from the 29-year-old, and Johnson is in line for a hefty raise.  If the Orioles believe in Johnson long-term, they could get him at a lower 2013 salary by doing a multiyear deal.  O'Day added a third stellar season to his resume, though his holds totals aren't big enough to send his salary skyrocketing.  Likewise for Patton's fine 2012.

Matusz and Hunter spent time starting and relieving this year, and both were much more effective in relief.  As Super Two first-timers, their careers as starters will earn them extra money in arbitration.  Both had decent rotation stints a few years back.  Matusz will surely be tendered a contract, and I think Hunter is safe as well.

Few expected a move to the AL East to coincide with the best year of Hammel's career, but the 30-year-old posted a 3.43 ERA.  However, a long DL stint for knee surgery limited him to 118 innings, his lowest total since '08.  That will suppress his raise.  The righty will be entering a contract year, so if the club buys into the new and improved Hammel, a multiyear deal should be considered.  The team could aim for something below the three-year, $24MM deal Joe Blanton signed before the 2010 season.

The Orioles have ten arbitration eligible position players, many of whom are non-tender candidates.  The biggest name is Reynolds, who would be arbitration eligible in the likely event the team chooses a $500K buyout over his $11MM club option.  Our projections suggest they could sign him for less than $9MM through the arbitration process, but that's still probably too hefty.  Andino is coming off a very rough offensive year, and the Orioles might let him go rather than pay him close to $2MM.

The other position player non-tender candidates all project to earn a million bucks or less in 2013.  Rich Dubroff of thinks Teagarden will be back as Wieters' rarely-used backup, despite Teagarden's abysmal offense over his last 400 career plate appearances.  Pearce was all over the place: signed by the Twins to a minor league deal in December, released in March, then a minor league deal with the Yankees, then a June trade to the Orioles, designated for assignment by the Orioles in late July, claimed off waivers by the Astros, traded to the Yankees in late August, designated again in late September, and finally claimed by the Orioles.  He has some pop, but the Orioles probably will not let him keep his 40-man roster spot.

Ford found his way back to the Majors in late July, the 36-year-old's first big league appearance since '07.  He'd done a nice job at Triple-A but also probably won't keep his 40-man spot.  Quintanilla had his largest Major League plate appearance total this year since '08, and he can also be safely cut loose.  A neck injury ended Reimold's season in April; he had surgery in June.  He can be retained cheaply enough and will probably remain in the left field mix next year.

Wieters is an important case for the Orioles, as he could earn almost $5MM as a first-timer.  The 26-year-old backstop was not arbitration eligible a year ago due to a conscious effort in 2009 by the previous front office to ensure he'd avoid Super Two status.  Given that memory, and the fact that Wieters is represented by the Boras Corporation, I'm guessing the best the Orioles could do would be to buy out only his arbitration years (2013-15).  I've never been a big fan of that type of extension.

Davis should make decent money as a first-timer, with a 33-home run platform year and some decent longball totals early in his Rangers career.  There's no doubting his power, though he's not one to draw a walk or add value on defense.  He's generally not the type to get a multiyear deal, because even if you design something team-friendly, he could still go Adam Lind on you.

Working under the assumption only Johnson, Hammel, Wieters, Davis, O'Day, Hunter, Reimold, Matusz, and Patton are retained, the Orioles are looking at an estimated $28.1MM for nine arbitration eligible players.

Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available exclusively at MLB Trade Rumors.  To read more about his projection model, check out this series of posts.

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16 Comments on "Arbitration Eligibles: Baltimore Orioles"

2 years 10 months ago

Nice write-up. I would have been more impressed if you turned Adam Lind into a verb. For example, Baltimore might be weary of Chris Davis Adam Linding his career.

2 years 10 months ago

I think the most important question here is… how the hell does Joe Blanton make $8 million dollars a year?

2 years 10 months ago

He doesn’t – at least not anymore.

2 years 10 months ago

Durability pays.

2 years 10 months ago

Being that I’m too lazy to look up these guys salaries from last year….how much of an increase in salary would this add to next years payroll?

I’m all for doing a long term deal with Wieters and signing Reynolds and Johnson to a 2 year deal at maybe $6-7 million per season. I’d negotiate with O’Day, Matusz, and Davis on a one year deal to avoid arbitration. The rest I’d go thru arbitration or let them go. I can’t see Hunter and Reimold winning in arbitration.

Manny Being Manny
2 years 10 months ago

Taylor Teagarden was a late game hero for the Orioles this year, and he played solid defense. I’d be surprised if they don’t bring him back.

2 years 10 months ago


2 years 10 months ago

I loved the bullpen this past year, but bullpens are notoriously fickle, and I’d be surprised if we offer o’day and johnson anything more than a 1 year deal.

2 years 10 months ago

1st Congrats to Delmon Young for the ALCS! I was one of the few that believed in you outside the Tigers organization.
Justin Verlander is the man! Now, you’re probable wondering why I mentioned two Tigers.
Well here’s the explanation.
1.) The Orioles don’t have a # 1 and the Tigers do! Duquette and Angelos don’t seem to think the O’s need one or they already got one somewhere. Having a proven # strengthens a rotation! Tigers proved that to me last night.
2.) The Orioles don’t have a consistent hitter in their line-up. The whole lot of them were hot and cold all year long. To an extent Delmon Young got that job done in the ALCS, where the Orioles hitters did not (ALDS)
If Andino left, I would miss him. Andino is my Favorite Oriole.
Roberts has lost his range, Flaherty has “NO” range!
Teagarden confuses me, I liked Paulino. However, look who won the battle.
I would let Reynolds go and bring in Swisher.
Jim Johnson did a nice job all year long and struggled a bit in the ALDS. As to why who knows.
PS CD is AL, ha! AL is a better fielder! Plus, no verbing CD!

2 years 10 months ago

The big thing I got out of that is that your favorite Oriole is a guy who just hit .211/.283/.305.

2 years 10 months ago

Haha, true. Andino had an uneven year.
So did a lot of 2nd baseman
Jemile Weeks for the A’s and a few others. Even Cano in someways (Beginning of the Season and the ALCS.)
I just think it would be a mistake to let Andino go.

2 years 10 months ago

Having a really good pitcher strengthens a rotation? You don’t say…
This was a very strange post.

Meh Sheep
2 years 10 months ago

I think they think they have one in Bundy and possibly a second one in Gausman.

2 years 10 months ago

I wonder how much the Orioles would commit to Johnson? I’d be fairly wary of a reliever that doesn’t miss a lot of bats, but then again, pretty good results this year. Maybe 2/13 would be fair?

2 years 10 months ago

Andino is a tough call actually.

On paper from a distance, it’s easy enough. He looks like a role player middle infielder, dime a dozen guy. Though in this clubhouse, he’s a extremely feisty prideful character with a lot of very tight relationships with important personalities (Jones, Showalter, Roberts, etc..) who has made symbolic significant contributions (Curse of Andino etc..). Showalter also values his type of Super Utility skills.

That said, Duquette seems to make a lot choices without emotion. So it isn’t unreasonable he cuts him loose.

2 years 10 months ago

Except for our total lack of depth at 2nd base. Unless Schoop goes nuts there next year or we are convinced Flaherty is the guy, I don’t see who plays there next year. And don’t say BRob.