2013 Contract Issues Rumors

2013 Payroll Commitments

While some MLB teams have already assured themselves nine-figure payrolls in 2013, others have barely made $10MM in commitments for next year. MLBTR's recent contract issues series detailed teams' 2013 payroll commitments using data at Cot's Baseball Contracts. I've compiled a team by team breakdown of the 2013 payroll commitments around MLB. Keep in mind that these figures don't include club or vesting options or figures for players whose salaries will be determined via the arbitration process. Here's the list, starting with the largest commitments:

The mean commitment for 2013 is $58.7MM.

2013 Contract Issues: American League

Here's MLBTR's look at the 2013 contract issues facing American League teams:

AL East

AL Central

AL West

Cot's Baseball Contracts was instrumental in the creation of these posts. The National League series can be found here.

2013 Contract Issues: Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:

Eligible For Free Agency (9)

  • David Ortiz – Ortiz's desire for a multiyear deal is no secret, but the Red Sox may prefer to go year to year with the 36-year-old. They could make a qualifying offer after the season and assure themselves of draft pick compensation if Ortiz leaves. The $12-13MM salary that comes with a qualifying offer would represent a pay decrease for Ortiz, who earns $14.58MM this year. 
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka - The Red Sox expect Matsuzaka to return from Tommy John surgery this summer. His next contract will depend on how he pitches upon his return.
  • Marlon Byrd - The Red Sox brought the 34-year-old in after injuries depleted their depth, but their need for outfield help won't necessarily exist next offseason.
  • Bobby Jenks - Jenks has appeared in just 19 games since signing a two-year, $12MM contract two winters ago. There's not much reason to expect the Red Sox to offer him a guaranteed roster spot again.
  • Cody Ross - Ross has eight homers and an .883 OPS, so he's setting himself up for a starting role and a Major League contract in 2013.
  • Aaron Cook - Cook started one game for the Red Sox before the team placed him on the 15-day disabled list. At this point he's on track for another minor league deal.
  • Kelly Shoppach – Shoppach may be expendable given the presence of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway.
  • Vicente Padilla - Padilla, who has more strikeouts than innings pitched, figures to sign a one-year or minor league deal next offseason.
  • Scott Podsednik - Podsednik and Byrd are in similar situations. They're contributing now with the knowledge that the Red Sox have a pair of star outfielders on the disabled list.

Contract Options (1)

  • Kevin Youkilis: $13MM club option with a $1MM buyout. Youkilis could be traded midseason now that Will Middlebrooks has emerged as an option for the big league team. But if he stays put and matches his career .878 OPS for the remainder of the season, the Red Sox could exercise the option.

Arbitration Eligible (14)

The Red Sox face a large arbitration class that includes many of the team's key players. Ellsbury and Bailey have been sidelined with injuries, so their raises will be modest. Others, such as Saltalamacchia, are on track for more substantial salary jumps. There's a good chance Tazawa will fall short of the service time requirements for eligibility at the end of the season and some players — Repko, for example — could be non-tendered.

2013 Payroll Obligation

The Red Sox have committed approximately $108MM to next year's payroll, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. They are barely under the $178MM luxury tax threshold this year, and if they aim to avoid it again next year, GM Ben Cherington will have less than $70MM at his disposal this coming offseason.

2013 Contract Issues: Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:

Eligible For Free Agency (3)

  • Nick Johnson - Johnson has four home runs already, but his injury history means he's a candidate for another incentive-based contract. He won't obtain a qualifying offer from the Orioles, nor will any of the team's other free agents.
  • Endy Chavez - Chavez, who is now on the disabled list, has played in just 20 games and has an OPS below .350.
  • Ronny Paulino - Paulino, 31, continues to find work as a backup catcher. He's likely to sign a one-year deal next offseason.

Contract Options (4)

  • Mark Reynolds: $11MM club option with a $500K buyout. Reynolds has two homers and a .661 OPS, so the Orioles figure to decline this option.
  • Kevin Gregg: $6MM club option vests with 50 games finished in 2012. Gregg isn't a $6MM pitcher, so the Orioles can be expected to decline this option assuming it doesn't vest.
  • Matt Lindstrom: $4MM club option with a $200K buyout. Lindstrom has pitched well in his first 13 outings. If he keeps this up, the Orioles will be tempted by this option following the season.
  • Luis Ayala: $1MM club option with a $100K buyout. Ayala has been effective through 24 1/3 innings, as his 1.85 ERA shows. Expect the Orioles to exercise this option if the right-hander's success continues.

Arbitration Eligible (13)

The Orioles are up against a large class of arbitration eligible players led by first-timers such as Wieters. The switch-hitting catcher could see his salary rise to $4MM or so next season if his strong platform year continues. Johnson's on track for a major raise and Hammel will enjoy a pay increase as well. Eveland, on the other hand, could be non-tendered. Berken has already been up and down from Triple-A twice, but he needs another stint in the Major Leagues to assure himself of arbitration eligibility.

2013 Payroll Obligation

The Orioles have committed $53MM to next year's payroll, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. They've spent approximately $85MM in both of the past two seasons, which means executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette could have as much as $30MM or so to work with in the offseason.

2013 Contract Issues: New York Yankees

The Yankees are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:

Eligible For Free Agency (10)

  • Mariano Rivera – Though he's not expected to pitch again in 2012, Rivera says he plans to return in 2013. It's safe to assume he's not signing with another team.
  • Nick Swisher – Swisher, 32 in November, will hit free agency for the first time in his career. The Yankees figure to have interest and could extend a qualifying offer. But other teams will be willing to offer long-term deals, so there's no guarantee Swisher returns to the Bronx.
  • Hiroki Kuroda - The Yankees seem to be in the market for starting pitching every offseason. The 37-year-old is probably in line for another one-year deal if he decides to continue pitching.
  • Russell Martin – Martin appears to have turned down a three-year, $21MM deal this past spring, before long-term deals for Yadier Molina (five years, $75MM) and Miguel Montero (five years, $60MM) re-set the market for catchers. Martin's off to a slow start at the plate, but a multiyear deal with an average annual value of $10MM-plus remains within reach.
  • Freddy Garcia - Garcia is headed for a one-year or minor league deal next offseason.
  • Andy Pettitte - Three starts into Pettitte's 2012 season it's hard to question his effectiveness. There's another unknown to consider, however: does the left-hander want to keep pitching?
  • Andruw Jones - Jones continues to add value as a corner outfielder and source of right-handed power off of the bench. It wouldn't be surprising to see him return to New York in 2013.
  • Raul Ibanez - The 39-year-old has nine home runs in just 139 plate appearances. He's positioning himself for another starting job in 2013.
  • Eric Chavez - The Yankees front office deserves credit for bringing Chavez to New York. He has a .271/.318/.396 batting line in pinstripes and, health permitting, could re-sign as a backup infielder next offseason.
  • Dewayne Wise - Few players on the Yankees' roster have less job security than Wise.

Contract Options (5)

  • Robinson Cano: $15MM club option with a $2MM buyout. The Yankees will exercise this option. It's hard not to wonder if they'll break from team policy and discuss an extension with the star second baseman.
  • Rafael Soriano: $14MM player option. Soriano can opt out and take $1.5MM buyout after the season. If Soriano finishes the season with a gaudy save total and a sparkling ERA, he could opt out and test free agency. But the market for elite free agent closers can dry up unexpectedly, as fellow-Scott Boras client Ryan Madson found out this past winter. The safer bet would be staying put and accepting the $14MM salary.
  • Curtis Granderson: $13MM club option with a $2MM buyout. The Yankees will exercise the option. As with Cano, the extension question persists.
  • Pedro Feliciano: $4.5MM club option. The Yankees will decline this option, which means they won't get a single pitch for their investment in Feliciano.
  • David Aardsma: club option based on 2012 performance bonuses. The Yankees' decision will depend on Aardsma's recovery from Tommy John surgery and his performance upon returning to action midseason.

Arbitration Eligible (9)

Hughes is in line for a raise from $3.2MM, while Gardner's extended stint on the disabled list will reduce his bargaining power in arbitration. Nix could be non-tendered and if the Yankees aren't optimistic about Chamberlain's right ankle injury, they could release him as well. Pena and Cervelli are playing at Triple-A and won't necessarily accrue enough service time to qualify next offseason.

2013 Payroll Obligation

The Yankees have already committed more than $119MM to next year's payroll, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. That's exceptional for most franchises, but the Yankees have spent more than $200MM on their team in each of the past five seasons. Expect GM Brian Cashman to look for ways to reduce payroll, as the team aims to slip under the $189MM luxury tax threshold for 2014.

2013 Contract Issues: Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:

Eligible For Free Agency (6)

  • Carlos Pena - Pena isn't hitting for much power yet, but he's drawing lots of walks and he's a capable defender at first base, according to The Fielding Bible Volume III. The Rays will need a first baseman next offseason, when Pena figures to obtain another one-year deal as a free agent. 
  • B.J. Upton - Upton has positioned himself for a multiyear deal worth $50MM-plus on the open market and the Rays aren't likely to submit the winning bid for their longtime center fielder. The Rays could make Upton a qualifying offer, since he'd probably have surplus trade value on a one-year deal in the $12-13MM range.
  • Kyle Farnsworth - Farnsworth hasn't pitched this year due to elbow soreness. The 36-year-old will likely be looking at a one-year or minor league deal next offseason.
  • Joel Peralta - Peralta has a 23K/6BB ratio in a league-leading 24 appearances this year. He could be a fit in next year's 'pen, but the Rays don't get overly attached to their relievers, so there are no guarantees for Peralta.
  • Jeff Keppinger - Keppinger can hit lefties and play all over the infield, so he's a valuable bench player for manager Joe Maddon.
  • J.P. Howell - Howell's rewarding the Rays for their decision to tender him a contract. But like Farnsworth and Peralta, he doesn't have any guarantees going forward.

Contract Options (4)

  • James Shields: $9MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout. The Rays will exercise Shields' option after the season.
  • Luke Scott: $6MM club option with a $1MM buyout. Scott has eight home runs and a .789 OPS now, and if he continues hitting this option could seem team-friendly by the end of the season.
  • Fernando Rodney: $2.5MM club option with a $250K buyout. When the Rays signed Rodney, many people, myself included, criticized the team for guaranteeing the walk-prone right-hander a roster spot and $2MM. Rodney has been sensational so far this season with a career-best walk rate and his best strikeout rate since 2008. If the season ended today the Rays would exercise this option.
  • Jose Molina: $1.8MM club option with a $300K buyout. The Rays' decision will likely depend on their assessment of Molina's defense and the development of Robinson Chirinos and Jose Lobaton (both presently on the disabled list).

Arbitration Eligible (8)

Price could end up close to $7MM his second time through arbitration and Niemann could approach $5MM. Joyce figures to be in the $3MM range next year and should lead the Rays' first-time eligible players. Gimenez and Brignac both have an OPS below .500, so they'll want to start hitting to ensure they aren't non-tendered.

2013 Payroll Obligation

The Rays have committed $18.6MM to next year's team, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. Their payroll sits at $63.6MM this year, but that's not necessarily predictive, since the team's payroll has fluctuated a fair amount under the ownership of Stuart Sternberg.

2013 Contract Issues: Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:

Eligible For Free Agency (7)

  • Omar Vizquel - The 45-year-old has said he expects this will be his final season.
  • Jason Frasor – Fortunately for Frasor, he won't be tied to draft pick compensation when he hits free agency in the offseason.
  • Edwin Encarnacion – Here's a question for GM Alex Anthopoulos: does Encarnacion warrant a qualifying offer in the $12-13MM range? It seems a bit rich for a player with limited defensive value, but Encarnacion's production would be hard to replace. Perhaps the sides could work out a multiyear deal at a lower average annual value. I think a qualifying offer is unlikely.
  • Carlos Villanueva – Villanueva seems to be headed for a one-year, Major League contract next offseason.
  • Jeff Mathis – Mathis could be deemed expendable given the presence of J.P. Arencibia, Travis d'Arnaud and Yan Gomes.
  • Francisco Cordero - Cordero has struggled to limit hits, walks and home runs in the early going, which could limit his leverage as a free agent.
  • Kelly Johnson - The Blue Jays figure to be looking for second base help next offseason, when Johnson will be among the best options available. They could make him a qualifying offer, but doing so would mean offering Dan Uggla/Brandon Phillips money. The industry doesn't appear to value Johnson as a $12-13MM player, so perhaps the Blue Jays will look to retain him more affordably.

Contract Options (2)

  • Darren Oliver: $3MM club option with a $500K buyout. The 41-year-old Oliver continues pitching effectively. If the season ended today, the Blue Jays would probably exercise this option.
  • Rajai Davis: $3MM club option with a $500K buyout. Though $3MM is on the pricey side for an extra outfielder, Davis adds value as a right-handed hitter with speed.

Arbitration Eligible (6)

The Blue Jays have a relatively small group of projected arbitration eligible players and it could diminish even more in the coming months. Cecil and Snider won't necessarily pick up enough service time to go to arbitration this coming offseason. Laffey could be non-tendered, and depending on the severity of Litsch's shoulder injury, he could be cut loose as well. Francisco may also find himself on the non-tender bubble if his slow start at the plate continues. That leaves Rasmus, who's on track for a raise from $2.7MM.

2013 Payroll Obligation

The Blue Jays have committed nearly $52MM to next year's payroll, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. The team's payroll has been approximately $80MM three of the past four seasons, but attendance is up, so perhaps payroll will also rise. The Blue Jays maintain that they'll be able to spend more aggressively when the time is right.

2013 Contract Issues: Chicago White Sox

The White Sox are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:

Eligible For Free Agency (2)

  • A.J. Pierzynski - Pierzynski continues to provide offense and durability at the game's most demanding position. Remarkably, he has averaged more than 130 games per season since becoming an MLB regular in 2001. He'd be hard to replace, but he's 35 and will slow down at some point. I don't expect the White Sox to make him a qualifying offer and risk a salary of $12MM-plus.
  • Will Ohman - Ohman has struggled through his first 18 appearances of the 2012 season, so the 34-year-old's stock is falling. Plus, the White Sox already have left-handers Matt Thornton and Hector Santiago in their projected 2013 bullpen. 

Contract Options (3)

  • Gavin Floyd: $9.5MM club option. It will probably make sense for the White Sox to pick up the option and obtain the rights to the durable right-hander's age-30 season.
  • Jake Peavy: $22MM club option with a $4MM buyout. Peavy has pitched tremendously this year, but a net cost of $18MM for someone with Peavy's injury history seems all too risky. The White Sox could trade Peavy and avoid the option decision altogether if they fall out of contention. If they keep Peavy and decline his option, they could still re-sign him at a lower average annual value.
  • Kosuke Fukudome: $3.5MM club option with a $500K buyout. At this point it's hard to envision the White Sox picking up the option.

Arbitration Eligible (4)

The White Sox will have four arbitration eligible players next offseason, all of them first-timers. This entire class will cost less than $10MM to retain, making it one of the smallest and most affordable groups around.

2013 Payroll Obligation

The White Sox have committed approximately $79MM to next year's team, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf typically spends $95MM-plus on payroll, and the tab has exceeded $100MM in five of the past seven seasons.

2013 Contract Issues: Cleveland Indians

The Indians are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:

Eligible For Free Agency (5)

  • Derek Lowe - The 38-year-old has added value for the Indians by keeping the ball on the ground. But he's striking out just 2.3 batters per nine innings, which could scare some potentially interested teams this offseason.
  • Grady Sizemore - Sizemore, now on the 60-day disabled list, in on track to miss more games than he plays in for the third consecutive season. If he returns to Cleveland for 2013, it's hard to imagine another $5MM guarantee. Perhaps an incentive-based minor league deal would work if there's interest on both sides.
  • Casey Kotchman - The Indians could use more offense at first base; the Twins are the lone AL team getting a lower OPS from their first basemen.
  • Johnny Damon - There's definitely a chance Damon will lose his roster spot before the offseason if the hits don't start falling in.
  • Jose Lopez - Lopez has been hitting since having his contract purchsed from the minor leagues. He won't obtain a qualifying offer this offseason, nor will any of his teammates.

Contract Options (3)

  • Travis Hafner: $13MM club option with a $2.75MM buyout. Hafner is drawing walks and hitting for some power, so he's a useful designated hitter. But $13MM from a small-market team for a 35-year-old whose prime years are behind him? I expect the Indians to decline the option.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez: $5.75MM club option with a $1MM buyout. Jimenez's ERA is over 5.00 in 20 starts with the Indians and he's walking more batters than he's striking out this year. The Indians could decline the option if he doesn't resolve his control issues, even though it would mean giving up on a pitcher who was supposed to lead the rotation for years.
  • Roberto Hernandez: $9MM club option. Hernandez, the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona, hasn't thrown a pitch in the Major Leagues this year. Issues surrounding his age and identity have sidelined him, so it'd be a surprise if the Indians made him a $9MM commitment this offseason.

Arbitration Eligible (12)

The Indians face a large and potentially expensive arbitration class. Perez and Masterson could each earn $6MM or more their second times through arbitration. Choo would earn even more if his power returns. LaPorta's playing at Triple-A and there's no guarantee he will accrue enough service time to qualify for arbitration by next winter. Duncan, Accardo and Slowey could all be considered non-tender candidates.

2013 Payroll Obligation

The Indians have committed $11MM to next year's team, which is less than every team we've looked at except the Padres (they're also at $11MM). If Cleveland's ownership matches the 2012 payroll of $65MM, GM Chris Antonetti will have flexibility to sign, trade for and extend players next winter.

2013 Contract Issues: Detroit Tigers

The Tigers are next in MLBTR’s 2013 Contract Issues series:

Eligible For Free Agency (3)

  • Delmon Young - Young hasn't done himself many favors at the plate (.669 OPS) or off the field this season. Victor Martinez will return as the Tigers' designated hitter by 2013 and it won't be surprising if Martinez's return eases Young out of Detroit.
  • Jose Valverde – Last year's streak of successful save conversions shouldn't obstruct the fact that Valverde’s in decline. It’s not that his past contributions have already been forgotten or that he won't be a useful reliever in 2013, but a commitment of more than $5MM would be an overpay given the unpredictability of relief pitchers and the right-hander’s peripheral stats.
  • Gerald Laird - Laird, 32, continues to contribute as a backup catcher. Perhaps another one-year deal in the $1-2MM range will work for both sides. None of the Tigers' three free agents should expect qualifying offers next winter.

Contract Options (2)

  • Octavio Dotel: $3.5MM club option with a $500K buyout. Manager Jim Leyland is limiting Dotel's exposure to left-handed hitters and the 38-year-old is pitching well. At a net cost of $3MM, Dotel could be retained as the team's right-on-right specialist.
  • Jhonny Peralta: $6MM club option with a $500K buyout. Even if Peralta doesn't hit the way he did in 2011, the team figures to exercise this option at the end of the season. He has more power and better on-base skills than the average shortstop and remains serviceable on defense, according to The Fielding Bible Volume III. A net commitment of $5.5MM for the shortstop's age-31 season seems like a good deal for the Tigers.

Arbitration Eligible (9)

The Tigers' next arbitration class includes three fifths of the team's starting rotation and much of its outfield. Retaining these players will cost a whole lot, likely more than $20MM. GM Dave Dombrowski has hinted that the team will consider extensions for some players after the season. Avila's on track for a raise to the $3MM range, and Jackson's 2013 salary could also approach $3MM. Fister could have 600 career innings by the time the season ends, so he'll be among the game's best-compensated first time eligible pitchers. Raburn has been a major disappointment at the plate this year, so a non-tender isn't out of the question.

2013 Payroll Obligation

The Tigers have committed just over $87MM to next year's team, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. Owner Mike Ilitch has regularly spent more than $100MM on his team and payroll rose to $133MM for 2012 following last offseason's Prince Fielder signing. Dombrowski should have some flexibility next offseason, though his major pieces are already in place.