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 Yankees are next in our series. Estimated service time is in parentheses, and estimated 2014 salary follows.
- David Robertson (5.070): $5.5MM
- Brett Gardner (5.072): $4MM
- Ivan Nova (3.024): $2.8MM
- Shawn Kelley (4.128): $1.5MM
- Jayson Nix (4.127): $1.4MM
- Francisco Cervelli (3.146): $1MM
- Chris Stewart (3.091): $1MM
With 97 holds over the last three seasons, Robertson is tied with Joel Peralta for the most in baseball. Arbitration will reward him with a true setup man salary, and if he takes over the team's closing role in 2014 and succeeds, he'll do well in free agency.
Gardner enters his contract year as well, after posting a career-best 609 plate appearances in 2013 while also establishing personal bests in doubles, triples, home runs, and as you might expect, slugging percentage and isolated power. His first full-time season in center field went well, and he adds value in a lot of different ways. Though Gardner is 30 years old and has yet to earn even $3MM in a season, free agent years could reasonably cost as much as $10MM apiece. If Gardner is amenable to a team-friendly pact in the vein of Carlos Gomez's three-year, $24MM deal, the Yankees should jump on it, but they seem likely to keep with their policy of waiting.
Nova broke camp as in the Yankees' rotation, hitting the DL in April for a triceps injury. Shortly after his return in late May, he was optioned to Triple-A. After being recalled in late June, Nova posted a 2.70 ERA in 116 2/3 innings, locking in a rotation spot for 2014. At this stage, only he and C.C. Sabathia are penciled in.
Kelley didn't start or finish strong, but for the bulk of the season he was the Yankees' seventh inning guy and has a bullpen spot for next year. Cervelli had a rough year, breaking his hand on a foul tip in late April and then getting slapped with a 50-game suspension in August for ties to Biogenesis. The silver lining was that he was able to serve the suspension while on the DL. For a million bucks, I think the Yankees will keep him around for 2014.
Nix and Stewart are backups who both played more than the Yankees planned this year, and are non-tender candidates.
Assuming the Yankees tender contracts to Robertson, Gardner, Nova, Kelley, and Cervelli, they're looking at an estimated $14.8MM for five arbitration eligible players.