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)
- First time: Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter, Nolan Reimold, Taylor Teagarden, Chris Davis, Troy Patton, Jason Berken, Matt Wieters
- Second time: Robert Andino, Dana Eveland
- Third time: Jim Johnson, Darren O'Day
- Fourth time: Jason Hammel
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.