2014 Arbitration Eligibles Rumors


Arbitration Eligibles: Milwaukee Brewers

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 Brewers are next in our series.  Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.

When Estrada hit the DL on June 5th for a hamstring injury, he was sporting a 5.32 ERA.  A back injury cropped up as well, delaying his return until August 7th.  From that point onward, he posted a 2.15 ERA and 5.09 K/BB ratio in nine starts.  Estrada will again be a popular sleeper pick heading into next season.  For now, his salary projects to remain small, and he hasn't shown enough to justify a significant extension.

Acquired in December last year, Badenhop's 2013 peripherals were nearly a carbon copy of his '12 rates.  He remains a useful groundball pitcher, and the Brewers have him for one more year before he's eligible for free agency.

Francisco was a popular trade target after the Braves designated him for assignment in late May.  The Brewers dealt for him in early June and he hit .221/.300/.433 for them in 270 plate appearances, trailing off in the season's final month.  He was used in a strict platoon, rarely facing a left-handed pitcher while mostly playing first base.  Even just for some pop off the bench, Francisco seems worth retaining at $1.4MM.

Assuming the Brewers tender contracts to Estrada, Badenhop, and Francisco, they're looking at a projected $7MM for three arbitration eligible players.



Arbitration Eligibles: Chicago White Sox

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 White Sox are next in our series.  Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.

De Aza quietly established career-highs for playing time and home runs, mainly as Chicago's center fielder.  The Sox haven't locked up an arbitration eligible position player since Alexei Ramirez after the 2010 season, but exploring an affordable multiyear deal with De Aza might make sense.  Three years and around $15MM could work, if the Sox believe the 29-year-old will continue to produce.

Beckham had surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in April, returning to the Majors on June 3rd and hitting .305/.341/.419 in 180 plate appearances through July.  Talk of a breakout season was quieted when the 27-year-old went on to hit .227/.304/.335 thereafter.  Though a trade is possible for the disappointing second baseman, there's a good chance the Sox stick with him for 2014.  Beckham may be pushed by Leury Garcia and Marcus Semien next year, but could also become more important if shortstop Alexei Ramirez is dealt.

Viciedo is in a similar spot after a disappointing oblique strain-shortened season.  Unlike Beckham, he finished strong with a .291/.333/.470 line over the season's final three months.  He's probably penciled in to begin next year as the starting left fielder.  Our salary projection model didn't know what to do with Viciedo, as he was on a Major League deal from 2009-12 and earned $2.8MM in 2013 despite not yet being eligible for arbitration.  In reality I think he'll get some kind of raise for 2014.

Given a crack at the team's starting catcher job after the departure of A.J. Pierzynski, Flowers limped to a .195/.247/.355 line in 275 plate appearances.  He's cheap enough and catching is in short enough supply that some team may be willing to tender him a contract for $1MM, while the Sox have Josh Phegley as another option and could explore free agency.  September shoulder surgery further depresses Flowers' value, and a non-tender is possible.

The Sox added Purcey on a minor league deal in November, and the hard-throwing southpaw joined the big league club in July after a strong Triple-A showing.  Though he posted a fine 2.13 ERA in 25 1/3 innings for the Sox, his career-long control problems continued.  A UCL strain ended his season in September.  With a projected salary just above the league minimum, there's little harm in tendering him a contract, unless the Sox prefer to keep the roster spot open for now and try to bring him back on a minor league deal.

It's fairly safe to project a commitment around $11MM for De Aza, Beckham, and Viciedo.  Flowers and Purcey are more of a gray area, but won't cost much if retained. 



Arbitration Eligibles: San Diego Padres

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 Padres are next in our series.  Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.

After a disappointing season that made 2012's power output look like the outlier, Headley projects to receive a small raise through arbitration as he enters his contract year.  Mutual interest in an extension remains, Headley told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick in September.  Crasnick suggested Alex Gordon's five-year, $50MM deal as a potential comparable, a contract signed directly after Gordon's first elite season with the player two years away from free agency.  We've seen contract year extensions for Carlos Gomez (three years, $24MM), Martin Prado (four years, $40MM), and Carlos Quentin (three years, $30MM), and Headley could regret sacrificing his first crack at free agency for that type of deal.  Headley told Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times in September, "I'm not actively trying to get to free agency, but trying to get what you are worth is important. It would be foolish not to at least pay attention. I'm not going to sell myself short."  I think if Headley can't get close to the five-year, $85MM range of the Andre Ethier deal, he'll hold off and risk a potential trade now or in July.

With Kennedy, Stults, Cashner, Ross, and Richard, the Padres have an entire rotation eligible for arbitration.  After undergoing shoulder surgery in mid-July, expect Richard to be non-tendered, even without a raise in the cards.  It's possible the Padres could look to bring him back on a much cheaper deal.  The other four are secure, with newly-acquired workhorse Kennedy projecting for the largest salary.  As a Boras Corporation client coming off a 4.91 ERA season, I don't expect him to sign an extension.  Ross, acquired from the Athletics a year ago, posted a sparkling 3.06 ERA in 16 starts but may not have done enough in his career to justify an extension.

Stults and Cashner are a study in contrast: the soft-tossing, 33-year-old former journeyman southpaw, and the hard-throwing 27-year-old former first round draft pick.  Stults led the Padres in innings this year and would probably jump at a multiyear guarantee.  Cashner had a breakout, fully healthy year, logging a 3.04 ERA in 26 starts after joining the rotation in late April.  With only 286 1/3 career innings, he's best compared to pitchers with less than three years of service, making five years and less than $30MM a possibility if both sides are thinking long-term.

Gregerson logged another sub-3.00 ERA season, showing a level of durability and consistency rarely found in a reliever.  The market suggests a three-year deal in the $15-16MM deal range, though the Padres could consider trading him for a significant return if they'd prefer not to go long-term.  After beginning the season in the minors, Stauffer fell short of six years of Major League service time.  He should be retained after a solid campaign as a long reliever.

Cabrera earned his first All-Star nod from Giants manager Bruce Bochy, though it was tainted by the Biogenesis investigation.  At the All-Star game, Cabrera maintained his innocence, which was ultimately revealed as a lie the following month when he accepted a 50-game suspension and apologized.  It would be a difficult spot for the Padres to lock him up, plus he's a Boras client anyway.

Blanks set a career high with 308 plate appearances, including five home runs and 18 RBI in June.  He later missed significant time with an Achilles injury.  Guzman started over 60 games for the 2013 Padres with ugly results, failing to mash lefties as he did from 2011-12.  Both are right-handed hitters who can handle first base and the outfield corners.  They also both project to earn around a million bucks.  If the Padres' projected starters are healthy, they may only have room for one of Blanks and Guzman, making a trade possible.  As the younger of the two, Blanks seems more likely to stay.

Assuming Headley, Kennedy, Gregerson, Stults, Cashner, Cabrera, Guzman, Ross, Blanks, and Stauffer are tendered contracts, the Padres are looking at an estimated $33.1MM for ten arbitration eligible players.



Arbitration Eligibles: Colorado Rockies

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 Rockies are next in our series.  Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.

Lopez took a step back in 2013, but at $2.2MM the Rockies are still expected to retain him.  Nicasio made 31 starts this year, and while he wasn't great, he figures to stick around.  Outman and Herrera both had solid campaigns and are secure.

Boggs began the season as the Cardinals' interim closer in the wake of Jason Motte's injury, but was optioned to Triple-A by May.  He bounced up and down after that, and was traded to the Rockies in July for international bonus money. Boggs struggled at Triple-A for the Rockies and made only nine appearances with the big club.  "I would like for that to be here because I feel it’s a good fit," Boggs said of the Rockies and returning to a late inning role, to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in September.  Boggs is no sure thing to be tendered, but given his low projected salary and past success, I lean toward the Rockies giving him another look next year.

Corpas, 30, has served as the Rockies' closer at various times in his career and found his way back to the organization on a minor league deal in January.  He wound up making 31 appearances for the big club, but will probably be deemed expendable.

Assuming Lopez, Nicasio, Boggs, Outman, and Herrera are tendered contracts, the Rockies are looking at an estimated $8MM for five arbitration eligible players.



Arbitration Eligibles: Philadelphia Phillies

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 Phillies are next in our series.  Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.

Revere's season ended on July 13th with a broken foot, but the 25-year-old center fielder is secure for next year.  Bastardo's season was cut short by a Biogenesis suspension, but he's expected to play in winter ball and will be tendered a contract for next year.  Frandsen trailed off significantly over the season's final three months, but is cheap enough to retain as a reserve.

Regarding Kendrick, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said on Monday, "I don't know why people are asking about that.  We will [bring him back]," according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  People were probably asking because as a guy with a 4.70 ERA, Kendrick's projected salary isn't much of a bargain.  Plus, he posted a 6.04 ERA over his final 17 starts and was shut down in September with a shoulder injury.

Lannan is likely to be cut loose, as a knee injury cost him more than half the season and he wasn't effective otherwise.  Mayberry is a "definite non-tender candidate," wrote Gelb yesterday, as the Phillies may slide Darin Ruf into his fourth outfielder role.  Mayberry, acquired by the Phillies in November '08, hit .227/.286/.391 this year.  Bernadina will likely be gone, after a lackluster showing in 27 games.  I expect Wells to be cut loose also.

If the Phillies tender contracts to Kendrick, Bastardo, Revere, and Frandsen, they'll be looking at an estimated $11.4MM for four arbitration eligible players.



Arbitration Eligibles: Toronto Blue Jays

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 Blue Jays are next in our series.  Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.

With big-time power and a solid .276 batting average, Rasmus finally showed the star potential that compelled the Blue Jays to trade for him in 2011, though an oblique strain knocked him out for a month.  His career-worst strikeout 29.5% rate portends a return to his low average days, but Rasmus will remain a major asset in center field.  2014 will be his contract year, and he won't turn 28 until August.  With free agency so close, it will be difficult to extend Rasmus for less than B.J. Upton money.

In his first full season in the bullpen, Cecil posted a 2.82 ERA in 60 2/3 innings and made the All-Star team.  His season ended a little early with an elbow injury.  The Jays have been willing to do small multiyear deals with players like this in the past, so if the injury is minor that could be possible with Cecil.

Arencibia continued to hit home runs, many of them in April.  However, his .227 on-base percentage was the worst for a player with at least 400 plate appearances since Rob Picciolo's .218 mark as a rookie shortstop for the A's in 1977.  FanGraphs suggests Arencibia was below replacement level overall this year, but it still seems someone would pick him up via trade prior to the December 2nd non-tender deadline.

Rogers moved into the Jays' rotation in June, posting a 4.89 ERA in 20 starts.  The hard-throwing 28-year-old righty is cheap enough to retain as a swingman.

Assuming Rasmus, Arencibia, Rogers, and Cecil are tendered contracts, the Blue Jays are looking at an estimated $11.2MM for four arbitration eligible players.



Arbitration Eligibles: Seattle Mariners

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 Mariners are next in our series.  Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.

Smoak's .238/.334/.412 line was about average for a first baseman, which was a big step forward after he'd hit .223/.306/.377 in over 1,400 prior plate appearances.  He struggled mightily against lefties and hasn't shown enough to justify a multiyear extension, but the 26-year-old clearly has a spot on next year's club.  Saunders, also 26 with poor production against southpaws, took a slight step back in 2013.  Even if he's just a fourth outfielder, his first-time arbitration salary is justified.

Charlie Furbush, previously estimated as a Super Two player, appears to fall one day short of the necessary amount of service time.

Assuming Smoak and Saunders are tendered contracts, the Mariners are looking at an estimated $4.8MM for two arbitration eligible players.



Arbitration Eligibles: Houston Astros

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 Astros are next in our series.  Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.

Castro, the tenth overall pick in 2008, put together a breakout campaign this year with 18 home runs, a .350 on-base percentage, and an All-Star nod.  The Astros could look into a team-friendly extension.  Three catchers in Castro's service class have signed three-year deals in the $8-9MM range, though two of them were in 2010.

Crowe, drafted 14th overall by the Indians in '05, signed a minor league deal with the Astros last November.  His contract was purchased in May, but he missed over two months with a shoulder injury.  The 29-year-old outfielder did not impress with the bat, and he received regular playing time with 103 plate appearances in September.  In mid-September, Crowe told Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune, "I want to be back next year. I think I'll be back, but we'll see it goes."  While Crowe is a candidate to be non-tendered, he could re-sign on a minor league deal if that happens.



Arbitration Eligibles: Chicago Cubs

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 Cubs are next in our series.  Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.

Samardzija is the Cubs' most important arbitration case, in that they are running out of time to extend him as he moves closer to free agency.  Though he didn't improve much this year beyond pitching more innings, extensions for pitchers with four years of Major League service are rare.  Samardzija should be able to get past Matt Harrison's five-year, $55MM deal, and closer to $80MM territory.  If the Cubs can't agree with his agent on his value, he could bring an impressive haul in trade this winter.

Schierholtz, Russell, Wood, Valbuena, and Strop have roles on next year's team, perhaps barring trades of the first two.  Though Wood had something of a breakout season, I don't think there's urgency to give him a $30MM guarantee on a multiyear deal, given lackluster peripheral stats.

We've projected Bard for the same salary he had last year, since reductions are so rare.  The Cubs' September waiver claim of Bard suggests they'll tender him a contract, or at least non-tender and quickly re-sign him for less than the allowable 20% pay cut.  Murphy has generally been deemed expendable by teams, but it would be fair to keep him on the roster after he hit 11 home runs in 163 plate appearances for the Cubs.

Barney won a Gold Glove in 2012 and continued to play strong defense this year.  However, his lack of offensive production dwarfed his defense, resulting in a replacement level season.  A non-tender seems extreme, partially because $2.1MM is acceptable money for a backup.  The Cubs may instead consider trading Barney this winter.  McDonald, a journeyman outfielder, will likely lose his 40-man roster spot soon.

If the Cubs tender contracts to Samardzija, Schierholtz, Wood, Barney, Bard, Russell, Valbuena, Strop, and Murphy, they'll be looking at an estimated $21.5MM for nine arbitration eligible players.



Arbitration Eligibles: New York Mets

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 Mets are next in our series.  Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows that.

Much has been written about Davis, who projects for a modest $375K raise after a lost season.  Earlier this month, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com wrote that the team is giving no consideration to non-tendering Davis, though a trade is possible.  Davis, 27 in March, hit 32 home runs in 2012 and would appeal to many teams as a buy-low candidate given a weak free agent market for first basemen.  Rubin has also written about the possibility of the Mets keeping Davis and trading or optioning Duda.

Murphy, Gee, and Parnell had fine seasons for the Mets, and will be bargains at their arbitration salaries.  After leading the NL in stolen bases, Young's roster spot is safe. 

Tejada, Quintanilla, and Turner picked up the bulk of the starts at shortstop this year, with Turner backing up at other spots as well.  Tejada, whose season ended with a broken leg, has frustrated the Mets with his attitude and work ethic, as outlined in this article from Jim Baumbach of Newsday.  It does not seem the Mets want to give up on him with a non-tender, but a trade seems possible if they find a better option to start at shortstop.  Given their small salaries, it's possible Quintanilla and Turner both return in backup roles.

Atchison and Baxter failed to impress this year, and there's a good chance they're non-tendered in December.

Trades could thin this group, but if the Mets tender contracts to Murphy, Davis, Gee, Parnell, Young, Duda, Tejada, Quintanilla, and Turner, they're looking at an estimated $22.3MM for nine arbitration eligible players. 









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