The Diamondbacks are next in our 2013 Arbitration Eligibles series. Matt Swartz's salary projections are below.
- First time: Ian Kennedy ($4.2MM), Chris Johnson ($2.2MM), Gerardo Parra ($2.1MM), Mike Zagurski ($500K), Cody Ransom ($900K)
- Second time: Brad Ziegler ($2.4MM), Brad Bergesen ($1MM)
- Third time: Matt Albers ($1.7MM), Wil Nieves ($800K)
Ziegler and Albers both posted sub-3.00 ERAs in 2012, aided by strong groundball rates. Look for both to be retained at reasonable prices.
Johnson, acquired from Houston in July, showed increased power for Arizona in a limited sample and will come into 2013 as the team's likely starter at the hot corner. He projects as a Super Two player. Parra was an oft-used fourth outfielder for most of 2012. A skilled defender, Parra may have an increased role next year if the D'Backs move him or another outfielder.
Kennedy's body of work — 46 wins, 684 innings, and a 3.76 ERA — is quite impressive and only a little shy of where Jered Weaver was prior to his first arbitration year. With so many of the best starting pitchers locked into long-term contracts these days by the time they reach arbitration, our projection model actually has a pretty small sample with which to work. So, it cranked out $4.6MM for Kennedy, which would be a first-time starting pitcher arbitration record. In reality, we feel he will come in shy of Weaver, hence the "off-model" $4.2MM projection above.
Regardless, Kennedy is due for a very strong first-year arbitration salary. It's possible the D'Backs will look to lock him up, saving some money for 2013 in the process. The standard four-year, $30MM contract we've seen so often has been for pitchers with less than three years of service, whereas Kennedy is well past that point. Gio Gonzalez's five-year, $42MM contract might be a better target, although it's not a perfect match since Gonzalez was a Super Two.
Nieves, Zagurski, Ransom, and Bergesen are the team's non-tender candidates. If Henry Blanco returns as Miguel Montero's backup, Nieves will not be needed. Zagurski was removed from Arizona's 40-man roster in April and August, and he'll probably be removed again. The D'Backs also removed Ransom in May, though they brought him back in an August waiver claim. Bergesen was acquired from Baltimore in a July waiver claim, and it's debatable whether the club will want him back for a long relief role.
Assuming only Ziegler, Albers, Johnson, Parra, and Kennedy are retained, we're projecting $12.6MM in salary for arbitration eligible Diamondbacks for 2013.
Matt Swartz's arbitration projections are available exclusively at MLB Trade Rumors. To read more about his projection model, check out this series of posts.