2013 Arbitration Eligibles Rumors

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 CSNBaltimore.com 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.


Arbitration Eligibles: Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series, although they have the smallest group of any team.  Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

  • First time: A.J. Ellis ($1.7MM)
  • Second time: None
  • Third time: None

The Dodgers are a largely veteran club.  Currently it appears that catcher A.J. Ellis will reach Super Two status and reliever Ronald Belisario will not, making Ellis the team's lone arbitration case.

Ellis, 31, ran away with the team's starting catching job with strong on-base skills and better-than-expected pop.  Though the Dodgers took a while to buy into the idea of Ellis' OBP holding up at the Major League level, a multiyear deal could be entertained this winter.  It'd have to be something small and team-friendly, along the lines of contracts signed by Jonathan Lucroy, Nick Hundley, and Carlos Ruiz in recent years.

At any rate, the Dodgers might have a slew of guaranteed contracts on the books, but their arbitration case projects to add less than $2MM.

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: Cleveland Indians

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

Choo, Perez, and Masterson represent the Tribe's big money arbitration trio, and all will be tendered contracts.  Choo, 30, had a strong bounceback season and will be entering his contract year.  Jon Heyman of CBS Sports talked to Chris Antonetti in August, and the Indians' GM explained that Choo and agent Scott Boras have not been receptive to an extension.  Choo's trade value may be limited by the lone year of remaining control and his struggles against left-handed pitching.

Perez made headlines in September when he was mildly critical of the Indians' payroll and front office in an interview with Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  The closer later hashed things out with Antonetti in a long meeting.  After that, Perez touched on his future with MLB.com's Jordan Bastian, saying, "That's a business decision that they're going to have to make.  That's not up to me. That's not my decision. I have two years left here at least. Right now, it's up to them. I think whatever they decide to do is definitely going to tell you which way the team is going one way or the other."  In other words, if the Indians trade Perez for cheaper players, it'll represent a step in the rebuilding direction.  On that point, I disagree: the value placed on the save statistic will continue to artifically inflate Perez's salary next year, and if the Indians can get a solid return for him, that's just a good baseball decision.

At a salary approaching $6MM, Masterson will be pricey for a guy coming off a 4.93 ERA.  He's better than that, and maybe the comfort of having Terry Francona as manager again will provide a small boost.

Of the team's seven remaining arbitration eligible players, many are non-tender candidates: Lillibridge, Rafael Perez, Hannahan, and Slowey.  Slowey will pitch in the Dominican Winter League following an injury-shortened 2012 campaign in which he did not return to the Majors.  Without the Rockies picking up part of the tab on Slowey this time, he's headed for a non-tender.  Lillibridge couldn't reproduce his strong part-time showing in 2011.  The Red Sox acquired Lillibridge in the Kevin Youkilis trade in late June, but designated him for assignment in less than a month, at which point the Indians got him in a minor deal.

Rafael Perez came down with shoulder soreness in March, missed most of the season, and had arthroscopic shoulder surgery in late September.  Even if he is ready for Spring Training, Perez doesn't represent a great risk of $2MM.  Hannahan, typically well-regarded for his defense, could stick around for a reduced role behind Lonnie Chisenhall.  Or, the Indians could seek a cheaper backup at third base.

Sipp has troublesome flyball/home run tendencies, though at a million bucks or so he may be retained.  Smith will remain a key cog in next year's bullpen.  With Carlos Santana spending some time at first base, Marson received more starts at catcher than a typical backup.  I expect him to be tendered a contract.

A total arbitration estimate doesn't mean much given the different trade and non-tender scenarios for the Indians.  But if Choo, Chris Perez, Masterson, Smith, Sipp, and Marson are retained, we're estimating $25.3MM 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.



Arbitration Eligibles: Milwaukee Brewers

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

The Brewers' arbitration class includes four relievers: Axford, Loe, Parra, and Veras.  Axford was removed from the closer role in July, but was soon worked back into save situations.  Saves pay in arbitration, and Axford still amassed 35 of them in 2012 (and 106 for his career).  At $5.1MM, he'll already be expensive for a reliever after his first time through arbitration, but Axford will be back in 2013.  

Earlier this month, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel noted that the Brewers' bullpen will be "extensively retooled" behind Axford and Jim Henderson, so it's possible Loe, Veras, and Parra are all removed one way or another.  Loe struggled this year but would get credit in arbitration for 51 career holds.  Veras' already-shaky control slipped in 2012, but he still racks up strikeouts.  Parra missed all of 2011 with an elbow injury and returned in 2012 with 58 2/3 relief innings.  He remains tough on lefties and still throws hard, so he might be worth a $1.6MM investment.  On the other hand, with a 5.06 ERA and tons of baserunners, it's possible the Brewers have seen enough.  My guess is that Brewers GM Doug Melvin will shop this trio prior to the November 30th non-tender deadline.  

Starters Estrada and Narveson are first-time arbitration eligible.  Estrada posted a 3.76 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, and 1.18 HR/9 in 23 starts, so he has a rotation spot locked up for 2013.  Narveson was serviceable in 2011, but he missed almost of all 2012 due to rotator cuff surgery.  If, as we're projecting, that keeps him under a million bucks for '13, the Brewers will probably tender him a contract.

The Brewers have three arbitration eligible position players: Morgan, Ishikawa, and Gomez.  Morgan lost his effectiveness against left-handed starters, and won't be worth his projected arbitration salary.  Ishikawa was decent in limited action, but there's still some danger of a non-tender.  Gomez hit a career-high 19 home runs, and is locked in as the Brewers' center fielder for next year.

The Brewers have a lot of borderline non-tender candidates in the bullpen, so it's tough to pin down a total salary estimate.  If only Axford, Gomez, Narveson, and Estrada are retained, that'd be a projected $10.9MM for four 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.


Arbitration Eligibles: Colorado Rockies

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

With an 8.19 ERA in the Majors, Outman seems a candidate to be non-tendered.  Herrera had a rough year with multiple DL stints, and could be cut loose as well.  On the other hand, neither player projects to make even a million bucks, so if the Rockies prefer to keep their options open, they could be retained.

Chacin, slated as the Rockies' number two starter entering the season, was optioned to Triple-A by May.  His early struggles may have been due to a pectoral issue, about which he was less than forthcoming.  After Chacin rejoined the rotation in late August, he posted a 2.84 ERA, 4.7 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, and 0.61 HR/9 in nine starts.  The strikeout and walk rates aren't encouraging, but there's no doubt Chacin will be tendered a contract for 2013.

Colvin's service time is right at the projected cutoff of two years and 139 days, so if that holds up he'll be arbitration eligible as a Super Two.  He had a great year, at least at Coors Field, and started at least 18 games at three different positions.  He'll enter next year with a prominent role on the Rockies.

Fowler had the best offensive year of his career, though he too was much better at Coors.  Only three center fielders had a better OPS, though the advanced defensive metrics rated Fowler poorly.  There's still enough here to merit an extension, which MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith discussed at length in late August.  If Fowler is not extended, his somewhat low counting stats will limit his arbitration raise.

Assuming only Chacin, Fowler, and Colvin are retained, the Rockies are looking at an estimated $7.5MM for three 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.


Arbitration Eligibles: Chicago Cubs

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

Several arbitration eligible Cubs stand a good chance of being non-tendered.  With a 6.31 ERA, Volstad had a terrible year, and paying him anything close to $3MM doesn't make sense.  Stewart was affected all year by a wrist injury, which culminated in July surgery.  MLB.com's Carrie Muskat quoted Cubs GM Jed Hoyer on the situation last month: "Obviously, we'll spend a lot of time getting to the bottom of how it looks going forward before making a decision on his future with us.  It is a year that's hard to evaluate given the wrist."  So, Stewart at least has some chance of sticking around.

Valbuena picked up a lot of starts at third base in Stewart's absence, and manager Dale Sveum told Muskat he sees the 26-year-old on next year's team.  Valbuena's numbers — .219/.310/.340 in 303 plate appearances — don't make a strong case, however.  Corpas didn't have a particularly good year, and seems likely to be cut loose.

Samardzija spent the year in the Cubs' rotation and authored a breakout campaign, just in time for arbitration.  It's tough to find good comparables, since the pitcher had spent most of his previous innings in relief.  We've got him at $2.9MM, though his agency could make a case for something in excess of $3.5MM.  If the Cubs look to extend Samardzija, perhaps Johnny Cueto's four-year, $27MM deal would be a template.  Russell had a solid year out of the Cubs' pen, but won't be expensive his first time through arbitration.

Garza pitched a bit more than half a season before a triceps/elbow injury cut him short.  We're projecting a pretty mild raise up to $10MM, but this is another situation light on comparables.  If Garza comes up strong in the first half of 2013, the Cubs must decide whether to trade him, extend him, or let him walk as a free agent (potentially with a qualifying offer).    

If only Garza, Valbuena, Samardzija, and Russell are retained, we're estimating $14.7MM in salary to four 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.


Arbitration Eligibles: Arizona Diamondbacks

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

Ziegler and Albers both posted sub-3.00 ERAs in 2012, aided by strong groundball rates.  Look for both to be retained at reasonable prices.

Johnson, acquired from Houston in July, showed increased power for Arizona in a limited sample and will come into 2013 as the team's likely starter at the hot corner.  He projects as a Super Two player.  Parra was an oft-used fourth outfielder for most of 2012.  A skilled defender, Parra may have an increased role next year if the D'Backs move him or another outfielder.

Kennedy's body of work — 46 wins, 684 innings, and a 3.76 ERA — is quite impressive and only a little shy of where Jered Weaver was prior to his first arbitration year.  With so many of the best starting pitchers locked into long-term contracts these days by the time they reach arbitration, our projection model actually has a pretty small sample with which to work.  So, it cranked out $4.6MM for Kennedy, which would be a first-time starting pitcher arbitration record.  In reality, we feel he will come in shy of Weaver, hence the "off-model" $4.2MM projection above.

Regardless, Kennedy is due for a very strong first-year arbitration salary.  It's possible the D'Backs will look to lock him up, saving some money for 2013 in the process.  The standard four-year, $30MM contract we've seen so often has been for pitchers with less than three years of service, whereas Kennedy is well past that point.  Gio Gonzalez's five-year, $42MM contract might be a better target, although it's not a perfect match since Gonzalez was a Super Two.

Nieves, Zagurski, Ransom, and Bergesen are the team's non-tender candidates.  If Henry Blanco returns as Miguel Montero's backup, Nieves will not be needed.  Zagurski was removed from Arizona's 40-man roster in April and August, and he'll probably be removed again.  The D'Backs also removed Ransom in May, though they brought him back in an August waiver claim.  Bergesen was acquired from Baltimore in a July waiver claim, and it's debatable whether the club will want him back for a long relief role.

Assuming only Ziegler, Albers, Johnson, Parra, and Kennedy are retained, we're projecting $12.6MM in salary for arbitration eligible Diamondbacks 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: New York Mets

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

The Mets have nine arbitration eligible players, but more than half stand a good chance of being non-tendered.  Pelfrey had Tommy John surgery in May, and even with his recovery going well there's no reason to pay him nearly $6MM again.  Seeing as how the former first-rounder is a client of the Boras Corporation, he'll probably be reluctant to allow for a club option when he signs somewhere as a free agent.

The Giants have been thrilled with Angel Pagan, but a change of scenery didn't help Torres on the other end of that trade.  Torres' ineffective season was marred by injuries, and he'll be cut loose.  Acosta was removed from the Mets' 40-man roster in May and re-added later; he'll be off it again soon.  Johnson struggled at both Triple-A and in the Majors, ending his season with a ligament tear in his thumb.  Lewis spent little time with the Mets this year and is also likely to be removed from the 40-man.

Davis and Thole will be arbitration eligible as Super Two players.  The Mets were rewarded for sticking with Davis, who was brutal for the season's first two months and then hit .253/.341/.536 with 27 home runs in 413 plate appearances the rest of the way.  If the Mets feel good about Davis' future, perhaps they could look to extend him now with some variant of Billy Butler's four-year, $30MM contract.  Thole had a rough year, but at a low projected salary he can be retained as a backup and personal catcher for R.A. Dickey.

Murphy is penciled in as the team's second baseman after a solid 2012 campaign.  Parnell hasn't had much success closing out games in his career to date, but overall he had a strong year and will have a key role in next year's bullpen.

Assuming only Murphy, Parnell, Davis, and Thole are retained, we're projecting $8.5MM for four 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.  For more on the Mets, check out Ben Nicholson-Smith's offseason outlook.


Arbitration Eligibles: Kansas City Royals

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

In Wood and Paulino, the Royals have a pair of promising pitchers who endured Tommy John surgery this year.  Both are worth retaining (Wood seems likely to garner Super Two status).  Despite a myriad of injuries, Getz worked his way into a starting role for the Royals at second base toward the end of his season.  I expect the team to keep him in the mix.

Hochevar, drafted first overall in 2006, has a 5.39 ERA through 771 big league innings, including a 5.73 mark this year.  If you're digging for a silver lining, the 29-year-old throws relatively hard, takes the ball every fifth day, and has exhibited skills suggesting an ERA closer to 4.20.  Given Hochevar's maddening flashes of brilliance, it seems the Royals are up for another go-round at our estimated $4.4MM salary.

The offensive promise once shown by Pena seems long gone.  Still, the 30-year-old Cuban wants to retire a Royal, and it won't require much of a raise to keep him around as Salvador Perez's backup for 2013.  Assuming everyone is retained in the Royals' group, we're projecting $10MM in salary for five 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.


Arbitration Eligibles: San Diego Padres

The Padres are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series.  With a dozen players, they have one of the largest arbitration groups.  Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.

In Moseley, Owings, Stauffer, and Blanks, the Padres have four arbitration eligible players who barely played in 2012 due to injury.  Moseley had April shoulder surgery and is likely to be cut loose.  Owings, who wants to focus on being a position player, had elbow surgery in July and is another likely non-tender.  

Paying Stauffer $3.2MM again would be risky given his August 31st surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his elbow.  Padres manager Bud Black told MLB.com's Corey Brock Stauffer will be "ready to go by Spring Training," but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be tendered a contract next month.  The 30-year-old had a breakout 2011 season and was ticketed for the 2012 Opening Day nod, so clearly there's talent here.  The ideal scenario for the Padres would be to non-tender Stauffer and then quickly re-sign him for less guaranteed money.  Failing that, they could tender him a contract and, if things look bleak in Spring Training, cut him then and owe about $530K.

Blanks had been ticketed for the minors, in which case he would not have been arbitration eligible, but he found his way onto the Padres' 25-man roster due to Carlos Quentin's injury.  Blanks quickly went down with season-ending shoulder surgery, but the 26-year-old is still interesting and cheap enough that the Padres wouldn't be risking much by tendering him a contract and seeing how he looks in Spring Training. 

Baker seems a capable backup catcher, and he actually caught as many games for the Padres as Yasmani Grandal and Nick Hundley this year.  Grandal is the clear starter for 2013, and Hundley might have first track at the backup job given the $7MM guaranteed to him through 2014.  The Padres still seem likely to retain Baker, so maybe Hundley will become trade bait.

Richard and Volquez emerged as the leaders of the Padres' rotation this year and are locked in for 2013. Volquez, the more explosive pitcher of the pair, will be entering his walk year and would like to remain with the club beyond 2013.  He seems to prevent home runs and hits enough to survive in Petco despite an MLB-leading walk total.  Richard might be Volquez's mirror image, with a stellar walk rate and MLB-worst hits allowed total.  I wouldn't attempt to lock up either pitcher at this point.

Relievers Thatcher and Gregerson had solid campaigns, with Gregerson picking up nine saves and 24 holds.  Thatcher will soon undergo knee surgery that could have him behind in Spring Training, but I see no reason the Padres wouldn't keep him around.  Venable did a nice job as the team's primary right fielder, especially away from Petco.  Cabrera provided value on the basepaths, and while the rest of his game is lacking, he'll be tendered a contract as an expected Super Two player.

Near the trade deadline, a Headley deal was actually considered likely, but GM Josh Byrnes wisely kept his asking price high.  The 28-year-old third baseman stayed with the Padres and went off in the season's final two months, to a point where MVP votes would be justified.  Matt Swartz has Headley, a client of Hendricks Sports, snagging nearly a $5MM raise en route to an $8.3MM salary.  Headley qualified as a Super Two player in 2010, so this will be his third time through arbitration and he'll have one more after that.

Headley's agency hasn't done many arbitration year extensions in recent years, though Byrnes is no stranger to such contracts.  Though the Padres' GM might prefer to use some 2013 data to determine whether Headley is an MVP-caliber player or more of an above-average regular, the price goes up the longer he waits.  One potential comparable is Kevin Youkilis, who signed a four-year, $41.25MM deal with the Red Sox after a breakout '08 season, also with four-plus years of service.  A more recent comp might be Alex Gordon's four-year deal, worth $50MM if he exercises a player option at the end.

Assuming Moseley, Owings, and Stauffer are non-tendered and no one signs a multiyear extension, we're estimating $27.4MM in salary for nine remaining 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.