Over the coming days, I am discussing some of the higher profile upcoming arbitration cases. I rely partly on my arbitration model developed exclusively for MLB Trade Rumors, but will also break out some interesting comparables and determine where the model might be wrong. 2020 projections are available right here.
Francisco Lindor enters his second year of arbitration eligibility coming off a $10.55MM salary in 2019, yet another solid campaign. Lindor hit .284 with 32 home runs and 74 runs batted in, stole 22 bases, and accumulated 654 plate appearances on the way to his fourth straight All-Star appearance and his second Gold Glove. My model projects Lindor earn $16.7MM, good for a $6.15MM raise.
It is very difficult to find comparable players for the talented shortstop. Looking for middle infielders from the past half-decade who hit 25 home runs going into their second year of eligibility provides only two names. Both players are second basemen and have much weaker cases than Lindor. In 2017, Jonathan Schoop batted .293 with 32 home runs and 105 runs batted in, stealing just a single base. The same year, Scooter Gennett hit .295 with 27 homers, 97 runs batted in and just three stolen bases. They got raises of $5.0 and $3.2 million, respectively. Considering Lindor stole way more stolen bases and plays a more premium position, he clearly has a better case. He should earn north of the $5MM raise that Schoop received three years ago.
Looking for a shortstop is clearly not a fruitful endeavor, though. The largest ever raise for a second-time-eligible shortstop was $2.83MM for Brandon Crawford in 2016. But he only hit .256, belted just 21 home runs, and stole a mere six bases. His case then was clearly inferior to Lindor’s now.
If we expand to look at other positions beyond the middle infield, some other potential names emerge. George Springer got a two-year deal when he had a similar .283/34/85 performance two seasons ago—although only with five stolen bases—but he had filed for a $6.6MM raise, while the Astros offered a $4.6MM increase. His two-year agreement probably assumes the midpoint. If nothing else, the $4.6MM figure is a floor if Schoop’s $5 million was not.
Justifying the model’s estimate of a $6.15MM raise is harder. But some of the players who have landed raises in that neighborhood had stronger performances. Khris Davis got a $5.5MM raise two years ago after belting 43 home runs and knocking in 110 runs. Davis hit at his standard .247 clip, but his power numbers may make him a ceiling for Lindor. Of course, the positional adjustment is hard. Marcell Ozuna picked up a $5.5MM raise in 2018, too, after he hit .312/37/124 as an outfielder. Still, one could argue that Lindor’s .284/32/74 line is inferior.
I think that somewhere between $5MM and $5.5MM is a reasonable guess for Lindor, which would put him around $15.5MM to $16MM. The model is clearly struggling to find where Lindor’s salary as is, just like we have done in this article, but I do think it landed high.
The guy’s one of the most exciting players in the game, with a personality to match; the Pat Mahomes of MLB. Trout would rather be at an Eagles game; Betts would rather be bowling; Frankie loves himself some baseball.
Pay him what he wants, and he’s probably one of 3-5 players I’d give a long term deal to.
Who are the 3-5?
My guess would be Lindor, Mcneil, Judge, Chapman, and Betts.
(Mcneil and Torres can be flipped around, but I had to choose one)
Putting McNeil in the conversation with those guys is blasphemy. You’d pay McNeil over Bellinger? or Soto?
Lol no, I think my brain died a little. So yeah i’d pay Belli and Soto way before Mcneil and I guess Chapman. I’d still pay Judge cause when he’s on the field he’s almost a 5-way tool.
I’d still pay Mcneil because he can play anywhere, plus he’s a great contact bat, but yes I agree putting him against Soto and Bellinger is blasphemy.
For one Aroldis already has a contract with the yankees, and for two, there are two Chapmans in baseball.
So I legit have a Mets logo tattooed over my heart.
No McNeil doesn’t belong there. Also Trout is the best player not named Bonds or Griffey in my 39 years. Him being an eagles fan is a stupid point to make. The OP is a serious moron.
I disagree with Judge because he’s a bit injury prone. He’s an amazing player when on the field though.
Matt Chapman (at least I hope)
Why would you extend McNeil he was a 27 year old sophomore last year they have him under control until he turns 32
Ultimately the Indians have a history of refusing to go to arbitration (aside from Bauer, whose competitive nature was such that he insisted on it), so I would expect something like the Indians filing a little low (15) and Lindor filing closer to the projected mark. Then they decide to settle at somewhere a little south of 16.
best two-way SS in MLB
would like to see Lindor break a few arbitration records on his next 2 contracts
I would love to see in too, but he isn’t getting $20MM like Betts made last year.
for his position at a minimum
What’s the rough projection the following year ? What betts is projected or closer to 20 or less ?
A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma;. Not even Boras or Manfred know the answer.
Alright, Lindor, enjoy your last two seasons of arbitration before coming to the Yankees as a FA!
Who chooses these photos?