2013 Arbitration Eligibles Rumors

NL Notes: D’backs, Rafael Soriano, Posey, Marlins

Seven years ago today, the Diamondbacks came to terms with Justin Upton, the first overall selection in the 2005 amateur draft, on a five-year, $6.1MM contract. The deal marked the largest signing bonus given in a minor league contract for a drafted player, who was not a free agent. Today, Upton is the prime trade target of the offseason. Just within the last 24 hours, we learned there is no match with the Padres, the Braves haven't engaged in Upton talks since before Christmas, and speculation that a deal will happen as soon as Arizona is offered the right mix of players. In non-Upton news involving the Diamondbacks and the rest of the Senior Circuit:


2013 Arbitration Eligibles Series

MLBTR’s series profiling each team’s group of arbitration eligible players is now complete. Here are links to the team-specific posts detailing arbitration cases around MLB.

Matt Swartz has developed a very accurate model that MLBTR uses to project arbitration salaries, as explained in this series of posts. We've heard from many MLB teams and agencies that reference the projections in their work. Here’s a link to every player’s projected salary and you can also click here to download an Excel spreadsheet with the projections. Now for the team by team previews…

AL East

AL Central

AL West

NL East

NL Central

NL West


Arbitration Eligibles: Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series. Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

Jacoby Ellsbury and many of Boston's relievers will head to arbitration this coming offseason. The Red Sox have a large class of players that includes a number of non-tender candidates.

Relievers Atchison, Hill and Aceves could all be non-tendered. Hill and Atchison dealt with elbow injuries this past season. The health of Atchison's pitching elbow remains in question, and Hill might not be viewed as a $1MM player after spending so much of the 2012 season on the disabled list. Aceves projects to earn $2.6MM thanks to his lofty saves total, but he could also be non-tendered.

Sweeney made three trips to the disabled list last season and didn't hit particularly well when healthy. Depending on what the Red Sox do to address their outfield this month, he could also lose his roster spot.

The remainder of the team's arbitration class includes four relievers in line for modest raises or no raises at all. Bard spent much of the 2012 season in the minor leagues, so his projected salary sits at $1.6MM. Bailey also missed most of the season, which means he projects to earn $3.9MM again. Meanwhile, Breslow should jump from $1.8MM to $2.4MM and Miller should obtain a modest raise to $1.4MM or so.

Ellsbury, Boston's best-paid arbitration eligible player and one of the top earning arb eligible players in MLB, projects to obtain a token raise to $8.1MM. His arbitration case won't be nearly as interesting as it was a year ago, when he obtained a substantial raise. The question remains: will the Red Sox pursue an extension with Ellsbury, settle for a one-year deal, or trade him?

Finally, Saltalamacchia and Morales will see their salaries jump following productive seasons at the MLB level. It's possible another team will be responsible for Saltalamacchia's case, as he appears to be a trade candidate.

If the Red Sox tender contracts to everyone but Atchison, Hill, Aceves and Sweeney, they’ll have committed  approximately $22.7MM to seven players for 2013.

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.



Arbitration Eligibles: Texas Rangers

The Rangers are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series. Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

The Rangers’ class of arbitration eligible players includes three major contributors and one player likely to be non-tendered.

Soto, the club’s lone non-tender candidate, struggled at the plate in Chicago then hit poorly after joining the Rangers. With a projected salary of $4.6MM, he’s expected to be cut loose by the end of the month. Back in August I looked at Soto’s case in detail, suggesting a non-tender was likely.

Feliz's salary is fairly difficult to project because of his recent role change and injury. The 24-year-old right-hander spent most of his career as a reliever, and MLBTR projects a $3.1MM salary based mostly on his relief work. Feliz, who underwent Tommy John surgery in August, will certainly be tendered a contract even though he’s expected to miss most of next season.

Harrison and Murphy both project to earn salaries in the $6MM range. Perhaps the Rangers will explore a possible extension with Harrison in order prolong his stay in Texas beyond 2014. Murphy could also be an extension candidate following a particularly productive season.

Assuming the Rangers tender contracts to Feliz, Harrison and Murphy, they’ll have committed roughly $14.8MM to three players in 2013.

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.


Arbitration Eligibles: Detroit Tigers

The Tigers are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series. Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

Many of the Tigers’ top players are headed to arbitration this offseason. The team has a large, expensive class that could shrink if a pair of players are non-tendered.

Three fifths of the Tigers’ rotation heads to arbitration this offseason, and while Fister and Scherzer are extension candidates, Porcello could be traded if the Tigers sign a free agent starter. Fister trails Scherzer by one year in the arbitration process and will end up earning about as much in 2013 as Scherzer did in 2012. Despite their different styles of pitching they’re actually reasonable comps in terms of innings, starts, wins and ERA. If the Tigers extend Fister he’d figure to obtain a deal of at least four years and $30MM. 

It might be more challenging to extend Scherzer. Not only is he a Scott Boras client, he’s one year closer to free agency, and impact starters are always in high demand. Jackson, another Boras client, might also appeal to the Tigers as a long-term answer in center field. 

The circumstances surrounding Detroit’s final extension candidate are unique. Alex Avila’s father, Al Avila, works in the Detroit front office as the team’s assistant GM. As MLBTR’s Extension Tracker shows, most recent extensions for catchers with three-plus years of service end up in the $8-16MM range.

Coke rounds out the Tigers’ arbitration class along with two non-tender candidates. Both Raburn and Boesch struggled at the plate this past season after showing offensive promise earlier in their careers. They could both be non-tendered given their projected salaries in the $2MM range.

If the Tigers tender contracts to Fister, Jackson, Avila, Scherzer, Porcello and Coke, they'll be facing an estimated total of $23.3MM for six 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.


Arbitration Eligibles: Chicago White Sox

The White Sox are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series. Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

Chicago’s class of arbitration eligible players consists of four first timers, two of whom project as non-tender candidates.

Humber’s season began with a perfect game, but it could end with a non-tender. He projects to earn more than $1MM and could be released given his 2012 production. Not only did he miss time with a strained elbow, he struggled for much of the season and finished the year with a 6.44 ERA and 23 home runs allowed in 102 innings.

Johnson appeared in 14 games with the White Sox once rosters expanded in September, but he doesn't appear to have a significant role on next year's White Sox team. He, too, could lose his roster spot on or before the November 30th deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players.

Beckham has been a fixture in Chicago's lineup since 2009, and he has some power, so he projects to earn north of $3MM as a first time eligible player. While his 2012 numbers are nothing extraordinary, he has a long track record at the MLB level that will help his case.

De Aza, on the other hand, picked up 60% of his career plate appearances this past season. He doesn't have the career bulk to match Beckham's projected salary, but he'll still earn a substantial raise — expect a salary in the $1.7MM range for the center fielder.

If the White Sox tender contracts to only Beckham and De Aza, they'll be looking at an estimated total just shy of $5MM for the two players. That total could rise if the White Sox choose to retain Johnson and Humber, but even then it won’t climb by much.

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.


Arbitration Eligibles: New York Yankees

The Yankees are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series. Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

The Yankees’ class of arbitration eligible players doesn’t feature any prohibitively expensive players, but it’ll still be a relatively expensive group to retain for 2013.

Hughes leads the way with a projected salary of $5.7MM. He won 16 games and completed more than 200 innings (counting postseason play), which helps his case as he goes to arbitration for the third and final time. Two more key members of the pitching staff, Logan and Robertson, project to get raises of approximately $1MM following strong seasons. Logan projects to earn $2.8MM after appearing in 80 games and striking out more than a batter per inning. Robertson won't be far behind after striking out ever more hitters, posting an ERA under 3.00, and collecting a pair of saves.

On the other hand, Gardner and Chamberlain missed too much of the 2012 season to obtain significant raises in 2013. Baseball's collective bargaining agreement prevents the Yankees from drastically cutting the players' salaries through the arbitration process, which means both Gardner and Chamberlain are expected to return on similar salaries in 2013.

Nix appears to be a non-tender candidate, as do recent waiver claims Whiteside and Herndon. Though Nix's versatility adds value, he could be cut loose if the Yankees are hesitant to commit nearly $1MM to a player who adds so little on offense. Whiteside provides depth, but he could also be non-tendered after spending most of the 2012 season in the minor leagues. And Herndon will miss the beginning of the 2013 season to recover from Tommy John surgery, which means his roster spot isn't completely secure.

Assuming the Yankees retain Gardner, Robertson, Hughes, Chamberlain and Logan, they’ll have committed $15.8MM to five eligible players in 2013.

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.


Arbitration Eligibles: Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series. Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

The Blue Jays have a relatively small arbitration class that includes two of the players who project as key contributors in 2013.

One of those players, Rasmus, seemed like an emerging extension candidate when, midway through the season, he had 17 home runs and an .821 OPS. Rasmus' numbers dropped off substantially in the second half and while his season totals of 23 home runs and 75 RBI will lead to a substantial raise in arbitration, the center fielder no longer seems like an definite candidate for a long-term deal. He’ll do reasonably well as a second time eligible player, with a projected salary of $4.5MM.

Happ recovered from a slow start in Toronto to finish in impressive fashion. In six late-season starts he limited walks and home runs while striking out more than a batter per inning. Small sample size warnings apply, but those six starts were a definite positive for a Toronto team in serious need of starting pitching. Though Happ looked like a borderline non-tender candidate immediately after arriving in Toronto, he's now expected to be tendered a contract — expect a salary in the $3.8MM range.

Neither one of the team’s other arbitration eligible players has played as much as one inning for the Blue Jays. GM Alex Anthopoulos claimed Wade and Wilson off of waivers last month and so far they’ve held onto their 40-man roster spots. Wade allowed eight home runs in 39 innings this past season despite a strong strikeout to walk ratio and appears to be a non-tender candidate. Wilson provides the Blue Jays with depth, but it's hard to see a role for him if both J.P. Arencibia and Jeff Mathis are healthy members of the organization at the end of Spring Training. If the Blue Jays need 40-man roster space this month, Wilson’s spot could be threatened. Otherwise, he provides the team with affordable, low-risk depth at a key position.

For a while it appeared this class would be bigger. The Blue Jays lost David Herndon on waivers to the Yankees; Jesse Litsch would have been arbitration eligible again, but he lost his 40-man roster spot; Rajai Davis and the Blue Jays recently agreed to terms on a deal for 2013.

If the Blue Jays tender contracts to all four eligible players, they're looking at an estimated total just shy of $10MM.

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.


Arbitration Eligibles: Miami Marlins

The Marlins are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series, with one of the smallest arbitration classes.  The Marlins are one of baseball's "file and trial" teams, in that they're known to automatically go to an arbitration hearing if figures are exchanged.  Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

Webb came to the Marlins two years ago along with Edward Mujica, in the deal that sent Cameron Maybin to San Diego.  Webb, who turns 27 in February, excels mainly at keeping the ball in the yard.  He's generally hittable and doesn't post great strikeout rates, and spent some time in Triple-A in July.  But at less than a million bucks, I think the Marlins will keep Webb around for 2013, especially having subtracted Heath Bell from their bullpen.

Bonifacio, 28 in April, missed a huge portion of the season due to a torn ligament in his thumb and a knee sprain.  He still managed to steal 30 bases in only 64 games.  Perhaps the Marlins will consider making him the permanent center fielder (he also plays infield) in 2013.  Bonifacio won an arbitration hearing against the Marlins in February, after the team took their standard hardline stance despite a difference of only $250K.

Assuming both players are tendered contracts, the Marlins are looking at an estimated $3.4MM for their arbitration eligibles. 

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.  To see projected arbitration salaries for all players, click here.


Arbitration Eligibles: Washington Nationals

The Nationals are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series.  Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

Lannan projects as the team's most expensive arbitration eligible player even without a raise.  It was a rough year for the 28-year-old, who lost his arbitration case in February, lost the team's fifth starter competition to Detwiler in April, requested a trade, and then remained in the organization to post pedestrian Triple-A numbers for most of his season.  A non-tender should cap off his year, which will at least lead to free agency and a fresh start.

Zimmermann is a mainstay atop the Nats' rotation, as the 26-year-old posted his best season with 195 2/3 innings of 2.94 ball in the regular season.  Comparables remain light among those with three to four years of big league service, especially since Zimmermann was a Super Two.  Perhaps a new extension comp will emerge among Max Scherzer, Matt Harrison, and Homer Bailey.  If not, I could picture $45MM over five years (two of them free agent seasons) for Zimmermann.  Detwiler, the team's first overall pick in the 2007 draft, did solid work at the back end of the Nationals' rotation prior to his first arbitration year.

The Nationals have four arbitration eligible relievers in Clippard, Storen, Gorzelanny, and Stammen.  When an elbow injury sidelined Storen in Spring Training, Clippard was initially denied a shot at closing in favor of Henry Rodriguez and Brad Lidge.  A larger committee took hold by late May, after which Clippard took hold of the job.  Storen was activated on July 19th, but Clippard still picked up 17 saves after that point and finished with 32.  The situation helped Clippard financially, as nothing earns bigger bucks for a reliever than saves.  As reliever salaries continue to rise, Clippard is still a good value at under $5MM.  Meanwhile, the abbreviated campaign and small saves total cost Storen some bucks in advance of his first arbitration year.  Gorzelanny and Stammen both had solid years and should also be retained.

Flores seemed like a trade candidate a year ago, but he received decent playing time in 2012 after starting catcher Wilson Ramos went down.  Flores didn't do much with his audition, and now Kurt Suzuki is projected to split time with Ramos in 2013.  A trade or non-tender is in Flores' future; like Lannan, he'll welcome the change of scenery.  Bernadina had a very strong season as a much-needed utility outfielder, and he'll be retained.

The Nationals' patience with Desmond paid off, as the shortstop had a breakthrough age 26 season.  Desmond played well in a sabermetric sense, but also had the surface numbers that pay well in arbitration (batting average, home runs, RBI, steals).  Since 2013 is his first arbitration year, he'll remain affordable at around $3.2MM.  The Nationals had preliminary extension talks with Desmond during the season, which will likely be rekindled soon.  Alexei Ramirez's $32.5MM extension with the White Sox could be a point of reference.

Assuming everyone except Lannan and Flores are retained, the Nationals are looking at an estimated $21.4MM for eight 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.  To see projected arbitration salaries for all players, click here.