Kendrys Morales, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Billy Butler, Geovany Soto, Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, Johnny Cueto, and Phil Hughes were among the players who were arbitration eligible for the first time in 2011. Several of the biggest names signed multiyear extensions, while other top players signed one-year deals in the $3-4MM range. For most players, arbitration eligibility is their first shot at a million-dollar salary. Let's go around the diamond and look at the potential notable first-timers for 2012. I've included some potential Super Twos, based on the possibility of the cutoff being in the range of two years and 120 days.
Not much here aside from Oakland's Daric Barton. His agent at Legacy Sports Group faces the tough task of getting the arbitration system to properly value walks.
Gordon Beckham of the White Sox might be the most interesting name here, if service time of 2.123 results in Super Two status. Sean Rodriguez, Mike Aviles, and Blake DeWitt should also be arbitration eligible after the season.
The Rangers' Elvis Andrus heads the first-time arbitration eligible shortstops. Offensively, his agent's pitch might be based on runs scored and stolen bases. Jed Lowrie and Paul Janish also should be arbitration eligible.
It's time for the Pirates to consider an extension for Andrew McCutchen, who will be arbitration eligible after the season after adding to his already impressive numbers. Colby Rasmus and Brett Gardner are also in line for arbitration paydays, with Travis Snider a potential Super Two at a projected 2.126. Chris Coghlan, Will Venable, Seth Smith, and Dexter Fowler are a few of the other arbitration eligible outfielders.
Many of the game's best young starters will be arbitration eligible after the 2011 season, if they're not extended first. Clayton Kershaw, Clay Buchholz, Max Scherzer, Trevor Cahill, Jaime Garcia, and Gio Gonzalez are the headliners, but don't forget J.A. Happ, Brett Cecil, Randy Wells, Justin Masterson, Jordan Zimmermann, Clayton Richard, Jeff Niemann, Homer Bailey, and Phil Coke. Three who have a chance at Super Two, especially if the cutoff keeps decreasing: Tommy Hanson (2.120), Derek Holland (2.120), and Ian Kennedy (2.124).
Andrew Bailey, Daniel Bard, Luke Gregerson, Tyler Clippard, Evan Meek, and Sergio Romo are the top relievers who project to be first-time arbitration eligible after 2011. Plenty more are in the mix, including Kevin Jepsen, Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs (2.125), Joe Thatcher, Tony Sipp, Ryan Perry, Jose Mijares, and David Robertson.