The Giants are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series. Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.
- First time: Buster Posey ($5.9MM), Gregor Blanco ($1.3MM), Joaquin Arias ($800K), Emmanuel Burriss ($600K)
- Second time: Sergio Romo ($3.6MM), Jose Mijares ($1.6MM)
- Third time: Brian Wilson ($8.5MM), Santiago Casilla ($5.4MM), Clay Hensley ($1.3MM)
- Fourth time: Hunter Pence ($13.8MM)
Wilson represents a high-profile non-tender candidate for the World Champions. The closer, 31 in March, had Tommy John surgery in April. Though he missed most of the 2012 season, a salary decrease is unlikely, hence the $8.5MM figure. It'd be a large commitment for a reliever coming off major elbow surgery, even if Wilson manages to beat the typical one-year recovery and be ready for Opening Day. The Giants would still have Romo, Casilla, and Javier Lopez in next year's bullpen, though if they cut Wilson and lose Jeremy Affeldt via free agency they might feel compelled to make an addition.
Casilla, and especially Romo, make for a formidable pair at the back end of the bullpen. The Giants also have arbitration eligible relievers in Mijares and Hensley. Mijares was solid following the Giants' August waiver claim, while Hensley is a non-tender candidate.
The Giants have a few utility types up for arbitration in Blanco, Arias, and Burriss. Blanco and Arias seem safe, while Burriss was on and off the team's 40-man roster in 2012 and will be let go.
In Pence, the Giants have the most expensive arbitration eligible player in all of baseball. A former Super Two, the right fielder took a larger-than-usual salary leap by winning his 2011 arbitration case. For some reason, the Astros and Phillies never hammered out an extension with Pence and he's continued going year-to-year. He was a trade deadline acquisition for the Giants, and unlike his Phillies' post-deadline stint in '11, Pence struggled. The Giants don't seem to be considering non-tendering him; instead they'll hope for a return to career levels in 2013.
Posey was the NL's Comeback Player of the Year after missing most of 2011 due to a major ankle injury. He's also an MVP candidate, an award that would further boost his arbitration salary. We don't project Posey to sniff Ryan Howard's first-time arbitration record of $10MM, but the Super Two backstop will set a first-time record for catchers and would get expensive in a hurry going year-to-year. Carlos Gonzalez signed the biggest extension for a player with less than three years service, a seven-year, $80MM deal. Since he's a Super Two player, Posey would deserve about that much on a six-year contract. However, Posey's agents at CAA Sports could have a $100MM+ deal in their sights, assuming an extension is on the table for both parties.
Assuming the Giants tender contracts to only Posey, Casilla, Romo, Mijares, Blanco, and Arias, they're looking at an estimated $18.6MM for six 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.