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.
Jonathan Villar is projected for a hefty raise in his third year of arbitration eligibility in 2019, thanks to a significant improvement over his performance the prior two years. Villar hit for a career-high 24 home runs and 73 runs batted in last season, while also hitting .274 and stealing 40 bases. Villar appeared in all 162 of the Orioles’ games, accumulating 714 plate appearances. After Villar earned $4.825MM in 2019, my model projects him to more than double that amount, with a $5.575MM raise to a $10.4MM salary for 2020. However, there really are not many useful comparables to work with in Villar’s case.
Very few players with Villar’s service time have similar profiles in terms of home runs and stolen bases. There is only one such player who had more than half as many of each in the last five years — Eduardo Nunez, who also stole 40 bases and hit 16 home runs back in 2016, while batting .288 and knocking in 67 runs over 141 games and 595 PA. Other than VIllar’s eight extra home runs, Nunez does look similar, albeit with fewer plate appearances (119 less than Villar) and games played (21 less). Nunez only got a $2.7MM raise, so add in some inflation and the effect of the extra home runs and extra games, and maybe Villar could get close to a $4MM raise, but that is still far short of the model’s $5.575MM raise estimate.
Looking for players with over 700 PA in the last two years, we find Cesar Hernandez from last year and Charlie Blackmon from two years ago, though Blackmon isn’t a comparable since his case relies more on overall hitting numbers than power and speed (.331 average, 34 homers, 104 RBI, 14 steals for Blackmon in 2017). Hernandez got a $2.65MM raise last offseason coming off a 2018 campaign that saw him post a .253 average, 15 home runs, and 60 RBI, to go along with 19 steals. This is an obvious floor for Villar, as he should clearly exceed this range.
Also from last year, Didi Gregorius may be a more realistic floor for Villar. He got a $3.5MM raise after hitting .268 with 27 HR and 86 RBI — all similar to Villar — but only stealing 10 bases. Of course, Gregorius only had 569 PA, far less than Villar’s 714 PA. Villar should certainly clear $3.5MM as well.
My best guess is Villar gets a raise of around $4MM to $4.5MM. The model may be estimating high because it is rewarding him heavily for his 714 plate appearances. Although the model has clearly established that the average effect of more plate appearances really compounds, there may be exceptions in cases like these. I do not think Villar reaches the $5.575MM raise estimate, so he should land closer to $9MM than the $10.4MM the model forecast.
Break your piggy bank Jeter!
Overvalued player by the model, undervalued player by teams
Arb the next ? years should be interesting if 2019 proves to be a one year aberration due to the ball. Teams will be paying out inflated arb decisions that will have a domino effect that could then impact other decisions as teams get closer to payroll limits they’ve set. In Villar’s case, the wild card is the value a team associates to his base stealing.
Arbitration Breakdown, my favorite Led Zeppelin song.
Villar is a trade bate for a master! Unfortunate, Orioles only bate at the novice level and reel in stinky tuna when decide flippers.
Oh no! I stand for the master correct! Whips, whips! Oh no! Villar is a Marlin. But yes, still was bait and Oriole make little no-catch with bad worm shaking!
The lead off man the Cubs need. Maybe the O’s take Quintana and any prospect the want other than Hoerner? Since Bryant is almost certainly going to be traded, this actually makes perfect sense. Chatwood or Alzolay would take Quintana’s spot in the rotation, and the future trade of Bryant will bring back more pitching depth. Any questions Theo?
Oops, meant to say Marlins not O’s!
Marlins taking on a salary dump… LOL
Besides, they don’t need starting pitchers. They are after offense.
Why do fans try to trade their garbage for young up and coming players? You realize to get talent you need to give talent. This isn’t 2015, no one values Q that way. Stop it.
Quintana? Haha! The only way the Marlins take him is if the Cubs convince Bryant to sign a long term contract extension, then trade both of them to the Marlins for lesser prospects, and the Cubs pay 75% of Bryant’s contract. Quintana has zero value to the Marlins – even negative value to the Marlins. We have young pitching. We don’t have a need. If the Marlins go after any pitching, it’s for a top pitching prospect or maybe taking on a low-risk/high-reward possibility like Taijuan Walker or Danny Salazar to add to their young staff.
He did more than mookie at the plate. Teams take consideration.
Clown comment of the thread.
Marlins are going to be sitting pretty if they get good years out of Villar, Dickerson, Aguilar, Urena, and Caleb Smith. With them, we will be adding some more nice prospects to build with. If things really go well, we could be baseball’s biggest surprise this year.
For some reason they seem intent on trading Smith. I’m not a Marlins fan but I like him.
I don’t know if Villar has the worst in-game skills of any MLB player, but he’s in the discussion……
Despite that, and the 25% K-rate, there are worst possibilities for an AL team as a lead-off DH type…..not all DHs have to be lumbering slugger-types…..and having a backup IF as a DH creates some interesting scenarios…..
10M ? Ya, too much. But might be worth eating for Jonathan in a contract-year drive…..
The worst in game skills? What the heck does that even mean. You making stuff up?
eh, I wouldn’t mind paying him 4/40 so 1/11 tops is perfectly fine to me. much bigger names will again not have the numbers he has at the end of the year.
Villar might be a possible replacement for Mookie. Good leadoff guy with power for a workable $ value. He can play 2 B which the Sox need. Good base stealer.
The Marlins could use a headliner even for a year.
Heaven forbid he may be able to put some fans in the ballpark. Re-sign Holt and move recently traded for ,Jose Peraza , to the Marlins. So Mookie and Peraza for Villar and a pitching,or outfield prospect, or International money.
The Red Sox will not give up Mookie + for Villar and his 25% strikeout rate and some international pool money/ a low level prospect…
dynamite drop in monty
This taco rules