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Arbitration Eligibles Rumors
We looked at the Orioles yesterday; now it's time to discuss Red Sox players who will be eligible for arbitration after the season.
- First time: Andrew Miller, Alfredo Aceves, Mike Aviles, Daniel Bard, Jed Lowrie, Franklin Morales
- Second time: Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rich Hill
- Third time: Matt Albers
Aceves and Bard seem likely to be arbitration eligible as Super Two players. My non-tender candidates are Miller, Aviles, and Hill. Miller projects to an arbitration salary around $1.7MM; I'm not sure how his club option compares to that. Aviles hasn't done much with Boston, and I'm not sure whether they value him around $1.5MM. Hill, who had Tommy John surgery in June, is probably someone the Sox could non-tender and then re-sign to a minor league deal.
Ellsbury is easily the team's biggest case. His MVP-caliber campaign, coupled with his stolen base tally, could result in a salary over $6MM by our calculations. That'd exceed even Hunter Pence's second-time raise won through a hearing last year. The Boras Corporation probably won't be shy about trying to set a new precedent. Most of the team's other arbitration eligibles project to make less than $2MM.
The Orioles kick off our series taking a look at players who will be arbitration eligible for 2012.
- First time: Jo-Jo Reyes, Brad Bergesen, Robert Andino, Alfredo Simon
- Second time: Adam Jones, Felix Pie, Jim Johnson
- Third time: Jeremy Guthrie
- Fourth time: Luke Scott, Jeremy Accardo
Projected potential Super Twos such as Bergesen and Simon may not end up with enough service time to be arbitration eligible. If the projected 2.145 cutoff holds up, Bergesen will be arbitration eligible and Simon will not.
Scott had shoulder surgery in July and is a likely non-tender. Pie is possible given his terrible offensive season, as are potential first-timers Eyre, Reyes, and Bergesen. Accardo is another non-tender candidate.
The key cases for the Orioles are Jones, Guthrie, and Johnson. Jones should exceed $6MM. Guthrie is in lightly charted waters as a third-time starting pitcher, and the cases of 2012 peers like John Danks, Matt Garza, and Joe Saunders will be relevant here. $9-10MM is possible. Johnson will be coming off a solid season, but still figures to come in under $2MM.
Players with at least two years and 125 days but less than six years of Major League service time are arbitration eligible. A player usually goes to arbitration three times in his career, though those classified as Super Two go four times.
On December 2nd, each team will decide whether to tender contracts to their arbitration eligible players. Those who are non-tendered become free agents. Players who are tendered contracts are automatically under team control for 2011 at a yet to be determined salary. Many players will reach an agreement before exchanging salary figures, which is formally done in mid-January. Others will exchange figures and meet somewhere in the middle. A handful of players will fail to reach an agreement with the team, resulting in an arbitration hearing in February. In an arbitration hearing, an independent three-person panel hears cases from both sides and picks which of the two salary submissions they find appropriate.
MLBTR's arbitration eligibles series examines all 30 teams; links are below. By our count there are 227 arbitration eligible players. Click here to download an Excel spreadsheet listing all of them. The Blue Jays lead with 14; the Cardinals trail with two. Our speculative non-tender candidate list will come later, but that group should contain around 90 players.
Giants fans aren't thinking about the offseason right now, but let's finish off our arbitration eligibles series.
- First time: Andres Torres
- Second time: Jonathan Sanchez, Ramon Ramirez, Mike Fontenot, Santiago Casilla
- Third time: Cody Ross, Chris Ray
- Fourth time: Javier Lopez
Torres hasn't done much in the postseason, but the 31-year-old's impressive regular season work will get him a contract. His salary will remain low, as he hasn't piled up big career numbers.
Had Ross remained with the Marlins, he probably would have been non-tendered this winter. He's already earning $4.45MM and his power slipped in 487 Marlins plate appearances this year. The Giants snagged Ross as a waiver claim in late August. His performance picked up with his new team, and he even won NLCS MVP. About a week ago, Giants GM Brian Sabean implied that he will tender a contract to Ross.
Ramirez, another midseason pickup, allowed only two earned runs in 27 innings for the Giants despite unimpressive peripherals. He'll likely be retained. Lopez, who came over from the Pirates, actually does have the peripheral stats to support his strong Giants ERA. He's been a postseason force and should be tendered. Ray is a borderline case – he'll remain affordable, but his performance this year was only passable. Yet another acquisition, Fontenot, has been a useful backup infielder even if his '08 slugging percentage appears to have been a fluke. He'll probably stick around.
Casilla represents one of the year's better minor league deals, as he compiled a 1.95 ERA and 9.1 K/9 in 55.3 innings. He's staying. Sanchez is a lock to be tendered, and is in line for a multimillion dollar raise following a 13 win, 205 strikeout breakout campaign. He doesn't have the career numbers to get the $6MM salary other second-time arbitration eligible starters such as Jered Weaver, Matt Garza, John Danks, and Chad Billingsley will make.
It's possible the Giants will tender contracts to all eight of their arbitration eligible players, though contracts for Ray and Fontenot are less certain.
The Padres are next in our arbitration eligibles series.
- First time: Chris Denorfia, Tony Gwynn, Edward Mujica, Tim Stauffer
- Second time: Mike Adams
- Third time: Ryan Ludwick, Heath Bell, Scott Hairston
Denorfia, Mujica, Stauffer, Adams, and Bell are highly likely to be tendered contracts. Adams and Bell should get noticeable raises, with the latter in line for a salary in the $7MM range. Bell hopes for a three-year deal, though a trade can't be ruled out given the Padres' strong bullpen. Ludwick disappointed after coming over in a deadline day trade, hitting .211/.301/.330 in 239 Padres PAs. Still, it appears he'll be tendered a contract.
Gwynn and Hairston are non-tender candidates. Gwynn hit .204/.304/.287 in 339 plate appearances, missing time due to wrist surgery. Ludwick staying would increase the chances of Hairston going; last month 69% of you predicted a non-tender for Hairston.
The Dodgers are next in our arbitration eligibles series.
- First time: None
- Second time: Chad Billingsley, James Loney, Ryan Theriot, Hong-Chih Kuo
- Third time: Russell Martin
- Fourth time: George Sherrill
Billingsley and Kuo will certainly be tendered contracts this offseason. Billingsley trimmed walks, home runs, and ERA this year and is operating from a strong first-time salary of $3.85MM. Agents will be rooting for second-timers Billingsley, Jered Weaver, Matt Garza, Joe Saunders, John Danks, and Jeremy Guthrie to jump to the $6MM range and raise the bar for others. Kuo has a strong case as well, with a fantastic, healthy platform year in which he took over at closer.
Loney, Martin, Theriot and Sherrill form an interesting group of non-tender candidates for the Dodgers. We discussed Loney's case a week ago; about 82% of you expect him to be tendered a contract. A trade is more likely than a non-tender. Martin is in a similar situation - ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted last month that "the perception among rival GMs is that he will have some (but not great) trade value." It doesn't help that Martin is coming off a broken hip. For a look at the trade market for catchers, click here.
MLBTR's Mike Axisa looked at Theriot's case on September 4th, at which point 42% of you predicted he'll be cut loose. Looking at Theriot's numbers since then, a non-tender is even more likely. Sherrill is a lock to be let go after his tough year. He was placed on outright waivers in July and cleared.
The Rockies are next in our arbitration eligibles series.
- First time: Ian Stewart
- Second time: Jason Hammel, Manny Delcarmen
- Third time: Clint Barmes, Matt Belisle
The Rockies have two non-tender candidates: Delcarmen and Barmes. They have to decide if Delcarmen is worth a $1MM+ gamble for 2011 after his struggles in 2009-10. The righty dealt with a forearm strain prior to his August 31st trade from Boston. Barmes, operating from a $3.325MM salary this year, is almost certain to be cut loose. He'll improve the free agent market for second basemen, though he'd like to return to the Rockies if he can't find an everyday job.
Stewart's playing time was limited this year due to an oblique injury and the occasional benching against a lefty. He won't be too expensive, and will be retained. Hammel had a solid year, better than his 4.81 ERA suggests. He'll still provide value in 2011. The Rockies' decision to tender Belisle a contract last winter paid off, as he led MLB with 92 relief innings. Belisle posted a 2.93 ERA with strong peripherals, and the Rockies will be glad to have him back.
Next in our arbitration eligibles series, the Diamondbacks.
- First time: None
- Second time: Joe Saunders, Stephen Drew, Miguel Montero, D.J. Carrasco, Blaine Boyer
- Third time: Kelly Johnson, Ryan Church
- Fourth time: Augie Ojeda
The Diamondbacks will be spending significant money on arbitration raises for 2011. Saunders, Drew, Montero, and Johnson are locks to be tendered contracts. They're all coming off respectable seasons, though Saunders led MLB with 17 losses and Montero's season was shortened by knee surgery. Having made $3.7MM in his first arbitration year, Saunders is operating from a high base salary and could land around $5.5MM. Drew should manage a similar salary. Johnson, with close to six years service time, could attempt to draw a comparison to Orlando Hudson, who signed for $5MM last winter.
Carrasco pitched decently since coming over via trade from the Pirates. Given the state of their bullpen I expect him to be tendered a contract, although the White Sox did cut him loose last year coming off a good season. He has a $950K base salary. Boyer's best traits are throwing hard and getting groundballs, but he could be non-tendered. He was designated for assignment in May by former GM Josh Byrnes.
Church turned around his season after coming to Arizona, but I have to think they non-tender him rather than pay him around $1.5MM in 2011. Ojeda is not an expensive player, but his ugly offensive stats may get him cut too.
The Cardinals are next in our arbitration eligibles series…
The Cardinals have one of MLB's smallest arbitration classes this year with first-timers McClellan and Ryan. Both should be tendered contracts and neither will be expensive. Ryan was abysmal with the bat this year, but he could win a Gold Glove.
The Pirates are next in our arbitration eligibles series…
- First time: Joel Hanrahan, Lastings Milledge, Andy LaRoche, Delwyn Young, Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf
- Second time: Wil Ledezma
- Third time: Zach Duke, Ronny Cedeno
Position players Milledge, LaRoche, and Young are on the bubble. Milledge probably doesn't have an everyday role on next year's club, but he's cheap enough to keep around as a fourth outfielder. LaRoche and Young would fill less prominent bench roles, but it's possible the Pirates could trade or non-tender one or both.
Karstens was designated for assignment in November of last year and went unclaimed. He's probably still expendable. Despite a 6.86 ERA in 19.6 innings (inflated by one outing), there was a lot to like about Ledezma's stint with the club. He averaged almost 94 mph on his fastball, his peripherals were strong, and the team is light on lefty relievers. He may still be non-tendered, but I expect the Pirates to try to retain him.
Duke, 28 in April, is likely to be non-tendered if there's no trade interest. A month ago, 88% of MLBTR readers predicted the lefty will be cut loose. Duke needs a good defense behind him, but if healthy he has his moments.