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2014 Arbitration Eligibles Rumors
As explained in this series of posts, Matt Swartz has developed a very accurate model for MLBTR to project arbitration salaries. We've heard from many MLB teams and agencies that reference the projections in their work. By my count there are 214 remaining arbitration eligible players. Click here to download an Excel spreadsheet with our projected salaries, or click below to see everything. For thoughts on each arbitration player, click the team name to see the associated Arbitration Eligibles post.
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. The Red Sox conclude our series. Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows. An explanation of our service time format: 5.062 means five years and 62 days. 172 days of service is equal to one year.
- Andrew Bailey (5.000): $4.3MM
- Andrew Miller (5.062): $1.9MM
- Franklin Morales (5.007): $1.8MM
- Mike Carp (3.010): $1.3MM
- Junichi Tazawa (3.086): $1.1MM
Bailey's time in Boston did not go well. He needed thumb surgery early in 2012, making his season debut in mid-August and pitching poorly. The Red Sox retained him through arbitration for 2013, but also acquired Joel Hanrahan to close. Bailey took over as closer when Hanrahan hit the DL for a hamstring injury, and was still the closer after missing time himself for a biceps injury. Bailey lost the ninth inning job in mid-June due to poor performance, and in July ended up needing season-ending shoulder surgery. It seems that Bailey will miss much of the 2014 season as he recovers, so he's certain to be non-tendered by Boston.
Miller had a solid 2012 campaign for the Red Sox and started off acceptably this year, until enduring a July foot injury that required season-ending surgery. He expects to be ready for Spring Training, and his price tag is palatable for a situational lefty. Tazawa was excellent in the regular season and playoffs, and will have a prominent role in next year's bullpen.
The Red Sox have Craig Breslow under contract, so along with Miller, Morales represents a potential third southpaw in next year's bullpen. Morales began the season on the DL for a back injury, and then strained a pectoral muscle in late April. The Red Sox stretched him out as a starter as he rehabbed the injury, but his May 30th season debut was his only start of the season. A shoulder injury put him back on the DL in late June, from which he returned in mid-August. He pitched in the Division Series and ALCS but was not used in the World Series despite being on the roster. It's hard to give up on a 28-year-old southpaw who throws 93-94 miles per hour, and Morales is cheap enough that the Red Sox might keep him around for 2014 or at least find a trade partner for him this winter.
Carp was designated for assignment by the Mariners in February, and after interest from the Twins, Astros, Brewers, the Red Sox acquired him, eventually just sending cash in return. Carp, a left-handed hitter, faced righties in 88% of his plate appearances and authored an excellent overall line of .296/.362/.523. The Red Sox will be happy to have him as part of next year's bench.
Assuming the Red Sox tender contracts to Miller, Morales, Carp, and Tazawa, they're looking at an estimated $6.1MM for four arbitration eligible players.
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. The Cardinals are next in our series. Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.
- John Axford (3.170): $5.7MM
- David Freese (4.028): $4.4MM
- Jon Jay (3.134): $3.4MM
- Daniel Descalso (3.016): $1.2MM
- Fernando Salas (3.014): $700K
The Cardinals added Axford in a late August trade with the Brewers, and the 30-year-old righty did a nice job in 10 1/3 regular season innings for St. Louis, picking up another 5 2/3 innings in the postseason. He recorded 19 holds this year, after amassing 106 saves previously in his career. Saves pay well in arbitration, getting Axford a $5MM salary his first time through. Axford would be useful to pencil into next year's pen, with Edward Mujica up for free agency and a decent-sized contract and Carlos Martinez being considered for the rotation. However, Axford's projected arbitration cost is a little steep, making a non-tender likely if the Cardinals are not able to find a team willing to take him on in trade.
Freese represents a tougher decision. The MVP of the 2011 postseason, Freese hit .262/.340/.381 in 521 regular season plate appearances this year and .179/.258/.268 in the playoffs. He was quite good as recently as 2012, and to non-tender him seems drastic given a $4.4MM salary projection. If Freese stays with the Cardinals, it seems likely the presence of Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong will affect his playing time. The Cards could also trade Freese this offseason.
The Cardinals are a team with few deficiencies, but center field is another potential area of upgrade. Jay, 29 in March, hit .276/.351/.370 in 628 plate appearances. At the least, he remains a useful player at $3.4MM. Jay's situation is similar to Freese: a non-tender seems unlikely, a trade is possible, and he may be pushed for playing time if he stays with St. Louis. Descalso, meanwhile, seems likely to have a utility role on next year's club.
Salas, 29 in May, was the Cardinals' surprise closer for much of 2011, but spent time in the minors in 2012. This year, he battled a shoulder injury and bounced up and down from Triple-A. With a projected salary under a million bucks, the Cardinals might be able to find a taker in a trade if Salas is not part of their plans for 2014.
Assuming the Cardinals tender contracts to Freese, Jay, Descalso, and Salas, they're looking at an estimated $9.7MM for four arbitration eligible players.
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. The Tigers are next in our series. Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.
- Max Scherzer (5.079): $13.6MM
- Rick Porcello (4.170): $7.7MM
- Doug Fister (4.058): $6.9MM
- Austin Jackson (4.000): $5.3MM
- Alex Avila (4.061): $3.7MM
- Phil Coke (5.028): $2.1MM
- Andy Dirks (2.139, Super Two): $1.7MM
- Don Kelly (4.138): $900K
- Al Alburquerque (2.147, Super Two): $700K
Scherzer is a strong contender for the AL Cy Young award, after winning 21 games with a 2.90 ERA and 240 strikeouts in 214 1/3 innings. Despite his success, Scherzer's rising price tag and impending free agency have made him a rumored offseason trade candidate. As a self-described "pretty fanatical fan" of this website, Scherzer will surely be joining you in keeping up-to-date on his situation. Our projected arbitration salary of $13.6MM would be topped only by Cole Hamels' $15MM in 2012 among starting pitchers, though Clayton Kershaw will speed past both of them if he goes to arbitration. Scherzer is a 29-year-old strikeout ace represented by Scott Boras who is heading into his contract year. An extension this offseason is extremely unlikely, unless Scherzer demands Boras to do it and/or the offer is record-shattering. Boras hasn't had an ace pitcher to take to free agency since Barry Zito seven years ago.
If Scherzer were to sign now, the contract would have to surpass C.C. Sabathia's seven-year, $161MM deal, which is the record in new money for a pitcher until Kershaw signs. A Scherzer contract would also probably include an opt-out after three or so years.
The Tigers' rotation also includes Porcello and Fister, who both project to jump up to the $7-8MM range. The most recent extension for a four-plus pitcher was Matt Harrison's five-year, $55MM deal from January. Fister has a strong case to top that, even if he's not able to get to the $80MM range of Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez prior to the 2010 season. For all the talk about Scherzer, the Tigers also need to be thinking about big bucks for Fister if they don't want to lose him the following offseason. Porcello's situation is different, since he was once a Super Two and has a 4.51 career ERA. Porcello seems more likely to be traded than extended, though they'll probably need him if they move Scherzer.
Jackson's walk rate and power took a dip this year, and he lost a month to a hamstring injury. He was still a useful hitter and a plus baserunner. He's locked in for the Tigers' center field job again next year, but an extension seems unlikely since he's represented by Boras. Avila, the starting catcher, hit under .200 in April, May, June, and August, but posted an OPS over .800 in July and September. He spent some time on the DL after being hit by a pitch on his forearm, and also endured a concussion in August. Avila's amazing 2011 season seems well in the rearview. While the free agent market does offer a potential upgrade in Brian McCann, the Tigers probably do not view catcher as an issue that must be addressed.
Dirks manned left field for the Tigers for much of the season, and seemed exposed with the career-high 484 plate appearances. Still, he should be retained for 2014. Kelly, a light-hitting utility player, was retained through arbitration last offseason and was marginally better in 2013. Though he doesn't project for a raise, his roster spot is in jeopardy.
Coke seems likely to be non-tendered after posting a 5.40 ERA in 38 1/3 innings, in a season that included a DL stint for a groin strain, a minor league demotion in August, and elbow issues. The 31-year-old was still solid against lefties. Alburquerque put together an uneven season, with a demotion to Triple-A in May, tons of strikeouts, and tons of walks. As frustrating as he can be, Alburquerque is a 27-year-old who throws in the mid-90s and misses bats, so he has value at a bit above the league minimum. The Tigers may consider trading him, but I think he'll be tendered a contract.
Assuming the Tigers tender contracts to Scherzer, Porcello, Fister, Jackson, Avila, Dirks, and Alburquerque, they're looking at an estimated $39.6MM for seven arbitration eligible players.
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. The Pirates are next in our series. Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.
- Garrett Jones (4.158): $5.3MM
- Neil Walker (3.166): $4.8MM
- Pedro Alvarez (3.085): $4MM. Alvarez may void $700K club option and go to arbitration.
- Charlie Morton (5.010): $3.9MM
- Mark Melancon (3.098): $3MM
- Gaby Sanchez (4.025): $2.3MM
- Travis Snider (3.091): $1.4MM
- Michael McKenry (2.136, Super Two): $900K
- Vin Mazzaro (3.021): $800K
Though Jones faced lefties in only about five percent of his plate appearances, the left-handed hitter still compiled a dismal .233/.289/.419 line on the season. He's topped 20 home runs in three of his five years with the Bucs, and can still be a useful platoon bat. However, with arbitration likely to push Jones' salary past $5MM for 2014, I think he'll be non-tendered.
Infielders Walker, Alvarez, and Sanchez should be in good standing for 2014. Walker's production remained consistent. Despite extension talks in the past, the Pirates have yet to extend the Pittsburgh native. Howie Kendrick's four-year, $33.5MM deal could serve as a model, though Walker would probably have to top $40MM to account for being a Super Two. Alvarez made the All-Star team and hit 36 home runs with 100 RBI this year, though he also led the NL in strikeouts and posted a .296 OBP. I'd be cautious in considering an extension, but it's probably a moot point with the Boras Corporation representing Alvarez. Sanchez did what was asked of him, hitting lefties extremely well while facing them almost 40% of the time. He'll probably be retained.
Snider and McKenry are on thinner ice. Snider, a former first-round pick in '06, had a chance at running away with the Pirates' right field job but failed to produce and battled injuries. There's a decent chance he's non-tendered, especially since he's out of options. McKenry surprised with a dozen home runs in part-time duty last year behind the plate, but a knee injury that eventually required surgery ended his 2013 season in July. Even if Tony Sanchez gets the backup nod next year, McKenry seems cheap enough to retain in Triple-A for depth.
Morton had Tommy John surgery in June 2012 and made his 2013 season debut a year later. The 29-year-old groundball pitcher put together a strong 116 innings, posting a 3.26 ERA. Now he's entering his contract year, so the Pirates must decide whether to try to extend him. The Bucs might want something like two years and $12MM or three years and $20MM, plus a club option in either case, since Morton has yet to reach 175 innings in a season. If Morton plays out his contract year and approximates his 2013 success over a full season, the price will rise quite a bit and he can avoid option years.
Melancon had a breakout year in the Pirates' bullpen, making the All-Star team and posting a 1.39 ERA in 71 innings. He racked up 16 saves when closer Jason Grilli went down, plus 26 holds as Grilli's setup man. As good as he was in 2013, I don't think there's a need for the Pirates to pursue an extension unless it's very team-friendly. Mazzaro rode a 52.2% groundball rate to a strong relief season, and should also have a spot in next year's pen.
Assuming the Pirates tender contracts to Walker, Alvarez, Morton, Melancon, Sanchez, McKenry, and Mazzaro, they're looking at an estimated $19.7MM for seven arbitration eligible players.
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. The Indians are next in our series. Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.
- Justin Masterson (5.108): $9.7MM
- Drew Stubbs (4.047): $3.8MM
- Michael Brantley (3.131): $3.7MM
- Marc Rzepczynski (3.132): $1.4MM
- Vinnie Pestano (2.133, Super Two): $1.3MM
- Josh Tomlin (3.069): $1.1MM
- Lou Marson (4.036): $1MM
- Blake Wood (3.079): $800K
- Frank Herrmann (2.147, Super Two): $600K
Masterson will be entering his contract year in 2014 and projects to earn a strong salary his last time through arbitration. He made his first All-Star team in 2013, and posted a 3.45 ERA in 193 innings overall. His last start came on September 2nd, as he was knocked out by an oblique strain and assumed a relief role upon his return because he did not have time to build up his stamina. Masterson had two sub-4.00 ERA seasons out of four in Cleveland, although he has not yet put together one with a strong strikeout rate and a walk rate below 3.0 per nine. If the Indians are to extend the 28-year-old groundballer this offseason, a five-year deal between those of John Danks ($65MM) and Jered Weaver ($85MM) would make sense.
Tomlin had Tommy John surgery in August last year, and spent most of his season in the minors after finishing rehab. The Indians may see fit to non-tender him.
Brantley had a decent year, although he hasn't done anything that would warrant a multiyear extension. Stubbs seems stretched as more than a fourth outfielder, and with a $3.8MM projection, the Indians should consider non-tendering him. Marson's season was ruined by an April collision, after which he battled a neck sprain and shoulder injury. He appeared in only three games, and is a candidate to be cut loose.
In Rzepczynski, Pestano, Wood, and Herrmann, the Indians have four arbitration eligible relievers. Rzepczynski joined the Indians in a July trade with the Cardinals and was excellent in 27 appearances for the Tribe. He's penciled in to next year's bullpen. Pestano, once the heir apparent to former closer Chris Perez, battled an elbow injury and lost velocity this year, and was optioned upon the Indians' acquisition of Rzepczynski. Pestano still qualifies as a Super Two, and is still worth retaining for 2014.
Wood, who had Tommy John surgery in May 2012, was claimed off waivers by the Indians from the Royals last November. He remained in the minors after his rehab stint ended, though he earned a September call-up due to solid work in Triple-A. Though he has control issues, Wood is probably worth the roster spot. Herrmann had Tommy John in March of this year, picking up service time in 2013 while spending the entire year on the DL. He would also be cheap to retain.
Assuming the Indians tender contracts to Masterson, Brantley, Rzepczynski, Pestano, Wood, and Herrmann, they're looking at an estimated $17.5MM for six arbitration eligible players. However, it is far from certain Stubbs, Tomlin, and Marson will be non-tendered, and they represent an additional potential $5.9MM.
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. The Dodgers are next in our series. Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.
- Clayton Kershaw (5.105): $18.2MM
- Kenley Jansen (3.073): $4.8MM
- A.J. Ellis (3.151): $3.2MM
- Ronald Belisario (3.151): $2.3MM
- Drew Butera (3.018): $700K
- Scott Elbert (3.069): $600K
- Mike Baxter (2.129, Super Two): $500K
Kershaw easily has the largest projected salary of the 200+ arbitration eligible players. Furthermore, his projection tops the largest arbitration reward in MLB history, Prince Fielder's $15.5MM in 2011. Cole Hamels set the record for a pitcher with $15MM in 2012. We had to invoke the Kimbrel Rule in limiting Kershaw's raise to $6.9MM.
There seems to be a general feeling that Kershaw has little chance of reaching the open market, because the Dodgers have the money and intent to sign their ace long-term within the next 12 months (and preferably before the 2014 season begins). The largest contract ever given to a pitcher remains the seven-year, $161MM deal C.C. Sabathia signed with the Yankees nearly five years ago. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported progress in June between the Dodgers and Kershaw on a seven-year deal worth more than $180MM, with other proposals under discussion such as $250MM over 10 years and $300MM over 12 years. In August, Rosenthal reported that the Dodgers and Kershaw were close to a seven-year, $210MM deal that would have included a player opt-out clause after five years, from which the Dodgers backed off. This month, ESPN's Buster Olney wrote about a $300MM lifetime contract the Dodgers had offered earlier in the season, perhaps the same one to which Rosenthal referred in June. Players must file for arbitration on January 14th next year, with figures to be exchanged on the 17th, but I imagine the Dodgers and Kershaw will be willing to talk about a long-term deal up until Opening Day.
Closer Kenley Jansen posted another fine season, though perhaps his first 30-save campaign will come in 2014 assuming he owns the job from the start of the season. There is no extension model for three-plus closers, so the Dodgers and Jansen would have to forge new territory to get a deal done.
Ellis' production declined from 2012, to .238/.318/.364 in 448 plate appearances. The team could consider trading Ellis to open up a pursuit of Brian McCann or Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Butera, a backup type acquired for depth at the trade deadline, will likely be non-tendered.
The Dodgers picked up Baxter from the Mets on a waiver claim this month, suggesting they'll consider tendering him a contract. He'll make something around the league minimum, so it's really about how they want to use the roster spot. Elbert, a 28-year-old lefty reliever, had Tommy John surgery in June and is a non-tender candidate. Belisario was not particularly good this year, with ERAs around 8.00 in June and September. He did have a 3.97 ERA overall and the Dodgers liked him enough to use him in the playoffs, so he's probably safe.
Assuming the Dodgers tender contracts to Kershaw, Jansen, Ellis, Belisario, and Baxter, they're looking at an estimated $29MM for five arbitration eligible players.
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. The Braves are next in our series. Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.
- Craig Kimbrel (3.066): $7.25MM
- Kris Medlen (4.137): $5.9MM
- Freddie Freeman (3.033): $4.9MM
- Jason Heyward (4.000): $4.5MM
- Chris Johnson (3.144): $4.2MM
- Mike Minor (2.138, Super Two): $3.5MM
- Jonny Venters (4.000): $1.625MM
- Jordan Walden (3.043): $1.5MM
- Jordan Schafer (3.121): $1MM
- Elliot Johnson (3.028): $900K
- Brandon Beachy (3.014): $900K
- Cristhian Martinez (3.158): $750K
- Paul Janish (4.115): $725K
- Ramiro Pena (3.089): $600K
Kimbrel's arbitration case is so incredible, we created a rule around it to limit his salary. Since his salary could escalate like no other reliever's has before, the Braves could try to get out in front of the situation and sign him to a multiyear deal. It's difficult to imagine buying out his three arbitration years for less than $25MM, and free agent years could cost $13MM apiece. There is no template here, and the safe bet for the Braves is to go year-to-year.
Medlen followed up his stellar 2012 with a strong 3.11 ERA in 197 regular season innings. A Tommy John survivor, Medlen is quietly closing in on free agency after the 2015 season. If the Braves want to lock him up, Matt Harrison's five-year, $55MM deal could be a starting point. The arbitration cases of Jeff Samardzija, Ian Kennedy, Mike Leake, and Doug Fister will be relevant to Medlen this winter, as all of them are in the four-plus service class.
The Braves may also want to look into locking up Minor, who achieves Super Two status after posting a 3.21 ERA in 204 2/3 innings. Gio Gonzalez, also a Super Two at the time, signed a five-year, $42MM deal prior to the 2012 season, which is still a record for a two-plus pitcher.
Beachy doesn't project to earn much his first time through arbitration, as he has only 267 2/3 career innings and only 111 over 2012-13 due to Tommy John surgery. He's still not all the way back, with arthroscopic elbow surgery being done in September. He'll be in the Braves' rotation mix next year if healthy.
Freeman put together an MVP-caliber year at first base, hitting .319 with 23 home runs and 109 RBI. On an extension, he'd easily be able to top Billy Butler's four-year, $30MM deal, which will be four years old come January. RBIs pay in arbitration and free agency, and Freeman has 203 over the last two years. He may just go year-to-year and watch his salary rise rapidly from our already-solid projected starting point of $4.9MM. Though the Braves have traditional extension candidates in Kimbrel, Medlen, Minor, and Freeman, they have rarely done these types of deals. Brian McCann's 2007 contract is the most recent example.
A year ago, Heyward was one of the game's best young players not signed to a multiyear extension. Though he had another strong season, he missed time due to an appendectomy, hamstring strain, and fractured jaw in 2013. He'll play at age 24 next year and seems primed for a big season. Johnson, meanwhile, contended for the NL batting title and finished with a .321 average. Unlike this year, he won't have to worry about having a platoon partner at third base to begin the 2014 season.
Turning to the Braves' bench, Schafer battled injuries but was a useful fourth outfielder. Infielder Ramiro Pena was off to a nice start until a shoulder injury ended his season in June. He hopes to be ready for spring training after having surgery. Elliot Johnson joined the Royals as the player to be named later in the James Shields–Wil Myers deal, after being designated for assignment. He was the team's regular second baseman at times, but was designated for assignment again in August. The Braves claimed him off waivers, and he was their starter in the playoffs at second base over Dan Uggla. Though Johnson wasn't particularly good in 2013, I think the Braves will keep him given the uncertainty with Pena. Janish has a low salary projection, but seems likely to be non-tendered after giving way to Johnson this year.
Finishing up the Braves' sizeable group, Walden, Venters, and Martinez are also up for arbitration. Walden is secure after posting a 3.45 ERA with a 10.3 K/9 in 47 innings. Venters had his second career Tommy John surgery in May, and faces a lower success rate than those who had the procedure once. We project his salary to stay at the $1.625MM he earned in 2013, though as we saw with the Royals and Felipe Paulino, a slight pay cut is possible. Venters stands a decent chance of being non-tendered. Also on thin ice is Cristhian Martinez, who had shoulder surgery in July.
Assuming the Braves tender contracts to Kimbrel, Medlen, Freeman, Heyward, Chris Johnson, Minor, Walden, Schafer, Elliot Johnson, Beachy, and Pena, they're looking at an estimated $35.15MM for 11 arbitration eligible players.
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. The Athletics are next in our series. Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.
- Brett Anderson (5.000): $5.5MM. Arbitration eligible if team chooses $1.5MM buyout over $8MM option.
- Jed Lowrie (5.111): $4.8MM
- Seth Smith (5.119): $4.3MM
- Brandon Moss (3.160): $3.8MM
- John Jaso (4.032): $2.2MM
- Josh Reddick (3.050): $2.2MM
- Jerry Blevins (4.081): $1.5MM
- Daric Barton (4.030): $1.4MM
- Pat Neshek (5.159): $1.2MM
- Jesse Chavez (3.108): $600K
- Scott Sizemore (3.046): $600K
- Fernando Rodriguez (2.142, Super Two): $500K
Anderson is the team's most interesting case. After a 6.04 ERA in 44 2/3 innings, we are not projecting an arbitration raise for the 25-year-old southpaw, so we're going with his 2013 salary of $5.5MM. His 2013 salary, however, was part of a four-year deal Anderson signed in 2010. For 2014, the A's have the choice of an $8MM option or a $1.5MM buyout, and GM Billy Beane told reporters including Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle it's likely the option will be exercised. If the A's instead decline the option and pay the buyout plus our projected arbitration salary, they could save around a million dollars. However, declining the 2014 option would nullify a 2015 option for $12MM (which also has a $1.5MM buyout). It appears, then, that the A's find it worth $1MM or so now to have the ability to retain Anderson for 2015 at $12MM. That's curious for a guy who hasn't reached 100 innings since 2010 due to injuries, but perhaps the A's will end up trading Anderson this winter anyway.
Position players Lowrie, Moss, and Jaso are on solid ground for 2014. Lowrie stayed healthy for a full season for the first time in his career, and enters his contract year looking for a repeat. The A's could look into a team-friendly extension, if Lowrie prefers financial security over playing out 2014 and reaching free agency. Even shielded against lefties, Moss smacked 30 home runs as the team's primary first baseman. Also avoiding southpaws, Jaso did his job, ranking second in on-base percentage among all catchers with at least 200 plate appearances. His season ended with a late July concussion, but he should be OK for 2014.
Reddick saw his power sapped by an April wrist injury, for which he is having offseason surgery. The A's will retain him. Smith's production slipped this year, and even against righties his slugging percentage slipped to .408. He came up big in the division series with a home run against Anibal Sanchez, but at $4.3MM next year I think the A's will non-tender him.
Blevins and Chavez have modest salary projections and should be part of next year's bullpen. Neshek's ERA was down to 2.10 at the end of June, after which point he posted a 6.75 ERA in 12 innings and was designated for assignment. He remained in the organization and had his contract purchased in September, but seems likely to be non-tendered. Rodriguez joined the A's from the Astros in the February Jed Lowrie deal, but needed Tommy John surgery in late March. Though he's arbitration eligible as a Super Two, he doesn't project to make more than the league minimum, so the A's just have to decide if they want to use a 40-man roster spot on him.
The A's retained Barton through arbitration last offseason for $1.1MM, but designated him for assignment as spring training ended. He was outrighted to Triple-A, found his way back to the Majors in May, and then was designated and outrighted again. He came back in August and even made the postseason roster over Nate Freiman. Barton posted another OBP over .400 in Triple-A this year, but I think the 28-year-old will be non-tendered this time. Sizemore is also on the bubble after re-tearing his ACL a few games into the season.
Since the A's expect to pick up Anderson's option, we won't include him in our arbitration estimate. If the A's tender contracts to Lowrie, Moss, Jaso, Reddick, Blevins, and Chavez, they're looking at an estimated $15.1MM for six arbitration eligible players.
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. The Rangers are next in our series. Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.
- Neftali Feliz (4.064): $3MM
- Mitch Moreland (3.067): $2.7MM
- Alexi Ogando (3.114): $2MM
- Neal Cotts (5.041): $1.5MM
- Craig Gentry (3.084): $1.1MM
- Adam Rosales (4.049): $900K
- Travis Blackley (3.026): $600K
Feliz had Tommy John surgery in August 2012, and was activated from the DL in September this year. He's expected to remain in the bullpen in 2014, and could ascend back to the closer role at some point. His salary remains low for now. Ogando's role is undecided for 2014, but injury issues could relegate him to the bullpen again. Cotts was an incredible story, and should again be an asset in the Rangers' pen as he enters his contract year at age 34. Cotts hasn't earned much in the game and seemed close to retirement at one point, so it's possible the Rangers could tack on a year at a modest salary.
Moreland, 28, is a tough tender decision. With a .232/.299/.437 line in 518 plate appearances, plus a DL stint for a hamstring injury, he didn't have the breakout year in 2013 for which the Rangers had hoped. Jose Dariel Abreu is off the market, but the team could look at free agents like Kendrys Morales, James Loney, Corey Hart, and even Mike Napoli for first base. If they make an acquisition prior to the December 2nd non-tender deadline, a trade or non-tender of Moreland will become more likely. Gentry had an excellent season in limited duty, and will have a role in next year's outfield.
Rosales bounced around between the A's and Rangers multiple times this year, and will probably lose his 40-man roster spot again. Blackley was removed from the Astros' 40-man roster in August, but was acquired by the Rangers and had his contract purchased. He's likely to be non-tendered as well.
Moreland is an unknown at this point, but if the Rangers tender contracts to him, Feliz, Ogando, Cotts, and Gentry, they're looking at an estimated $10.3MM for five arbitration eligible players.