- While Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. has been popular in trade rumors this offseason, they’re not going to deal him, Peter Gammons of The Athletic writes (subscription required/highly recommended). Boston’s front office regards Bradley as one of the team’s most important players, as it places great value on his “elite” defense and leadership, Gammons details.
We’ve covered a whole lot of arbitration deals today, many of them reached before today’s deadline to exchange filing figures. Some other agreements have come together after team and player submitted their numbers. It’s still possible, of course, that these situations will be resolved before an arbitration hearing becomes necessary. (At this point, we seem to lack full clarity on teams’ approaches to negotiations after the filing deadline. And most organizations make exceptions for multi-year deals even if they have a file-and-trial stance.)
Some situations could even be dealt with in short order. As things stand, though, these unresolved arbitration cases could turn into significant hearings. (As always, MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration projections can be found here; you will also want to reference MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration tracker.)
- Mookie Betts, Red Sox: expected to go to hearing, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe; Betts filed at $10.5MM, Boston countered at $7.5MM (per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, via Twitter)
- George Springer, Astros: did not settle, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter); Springer filed at $10.5MM, Houston countered at $8.5MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Ken Giles, Astros: did not settle, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter); Giles filed at $4.6MM, Houston countered at $4.2MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Collin McHugh, Astros: did not settle, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter); McHugh filed at $5.0MM, Houston countered at $4.55MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Jonathan Schoop, Orioles: Schoop filed at $9MM, Baltimore countered at $7.5MM (per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, via Twitter)
- Kevin Gausman, Orioles: Gausman filed at $6.225MM, Baltimore countered at $5.3MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays: Stroman filed at $6.9MM, Toronto countered at $6.5MM (per Nightengale, via Twitter)
- Roberto Osuna, Blue Jays: Osuna filed at $5.8MM, Toronto countered at $5.3MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Jose Iglesias, Tigers: Iglesias filed at $6.8MM, Detroit countered at $5.6MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Avisail Garcia, White Sox: Garcia filed at $6.7MM, Chicago countered at $5.85MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Trevor Bauer, Indians: Bauer filed at $6.525MM, Cleveland countered at $5.3MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Jake Odorizzi, Rays: Odorizzi filed at $6.3MM, Tampa Bay countered at $6.05MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Adeiny Hechavarria, Rays: Hechavarria filed at $5.9MM, Tampa Bay countered at $5.35MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Scooter Gennett, Reds: expected to go to hearing, per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer; Gennett filed at $5.7MM, Cincinnati countered at $5.1MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Eugenio Suarez, Reds: expected to go to hearing, per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer; Suarez filed at $4.2MM, Cincinnati countered at $3.75MM (per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, via Twitter)
- Shelby Miller, Diamondbacks: Miller filed at $4.9MM, Arizona countered $4.7MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Kyle Gibson, Twins: Gibson filed at $4.55MM, Minnesota countered at $4.2MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- J.T. Realmuto, Marlins: have not agreed to terms, per team announcement; Realmuto filed at $3.5MM, Miami countered at 2.9MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Dan Straily, Marlins: have not agreed to terms, per team announcement; Straily filed at $3.55MM, Miami countered at $3.37MM (per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, via Twitter)
- Justin Bour, Marlins: have not agreed to terms, per team announcement; Bour filed at $3.4MM, Miami countered at $3MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Brandon Maurer, Royals: have hit stalemate, per Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com (via Twitter); Maurer filed at $3.5MM, Kansas City countered at $2.95MM (per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, via Twitter)
- Felipe Rivero, Pirates: Rivero filed at $2.9MM, Pittsburgh countered at $2.4MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Kendall Graveman, Athletics: Graveman filed at $2.6MM, Oakland countered at $2.36MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Justin Grimm, Cubs: Grimm filed at $2.475MM, Chicago countered at $2.2MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Mike Foltynewicz, Braves: Foltynewicz filed at $2.3MM, Atlanta countered at $2.2MM (per Heyman, via Twitter)
- Zack Wheeler, Mets: Wheeler filed at $1.9MM, New York countered at $1.5MM (per Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, via Twitter)
- Other tendered players who have not yet reportedly agreed to terms: Yolmer Sanchez, White Sox; Brad Hand, Padres
The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)
Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salarie
American League West
- The Astros and Evan Gattis agreed to a $6.7MM deal for 2018, per FanRag’s Robert Murray (Twitter link). A free agent next season, Gattis lands within $100K of his $6.6MM projection. The club also has deals (for values unknown) with starters Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr., and Brad Peacock, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
- The Rangers agreed to a $1.05MM deal with infielder Jurickson Profar, tweets Murray. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, meanwhile, tweets that lefty Jake Diekman landed a $2.7125MM deal and righty Keone Kela will earn $1.2MM. Profar had been projected at $1.1MM and is controllable another three seasons. Diekman, a free agent next winter, was projected at $2.8MM. And Kela, still controlled for three more years, matched his $1.2MM projection on the dot.
- The Athletics and closer Blake Treinen agreed to a $2.15MM deal for next year, tweets Murray. The A’s can control Treinen for another three years. He was projected at $2.3MM. Shortstop Marcus Semien has settled for $3.125MM, Heyman tweets; his $3.2MM projection was nearly spot-on. Oakland has announced that it has avoided arbitration with Liam Hendriks and Josh Phegley as well, but their salaries have yet to be reported.
- The Angels have a one-year, $7.3MM agreement in place with right-hander Garrett Richards, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (Twitter link). Richards, a free agent next offseason, tops his $7MM projection by a margin of $300K. The Halos have also avoided arb with first baseman C.J. Cron ($2.3MM) and left-hander Tyler Skaggs ($1.875MM), tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Cron’s total falls a ways shy of his $2.8MM projection, while Skaggs comes in just $25K south of his $1.9MM projection. Both are controllable through the 2020 season. Lastly, Murray tweets that Matt Shoemaker agreed to a $4.125MM deal. He’s controlled through 2020 and projected at $4.4MM. Fletcher also tweets that the club has agreed with righty J.C. Ramirez ($1.9MM salary vs. $2.6MM projection) and lefty Jose Alvarez ($1.05MM salary vs. $1.1MM projection). Finally, righty Cam Bedrosian has agreed at $1.1MM, Flecher tweets, which represents a payday close to his projection of $1.2MM.
- Left-hander James Paxton will earn $4.9MM with the Mariners in 2018, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Murray tweets that the Mariners and David Phelps agreed to a $5.55MM deal. Paxton, controlled through 2020, projected to earn $5.6MM, while Phelps was pegged at $5.8MM. He’s a free agent next winter. Righty Erasmo Ramirez took a $4.2MM deal, MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports. That’s half a million shy of what the model suggested. Fellow right-hander Nick Vincent also has an agreement, but the terms aren’t yet known.
American League Central
- New lefty Luis Avilan has agreed to a $2.45MM deal with the White Sox, Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune reports via Twitter. The recent trade acquisition came with a projected $2.3MM price tag. Fellow southpaw Carlos Rodon will receive $2.3MM, a bit of a bump over the $2MM he projected to receive. Also, utilityman Leury Garcia gets $1.175MM, which is just $25K short of his projected value.
- The Royals and righty Nate Karns agreed to a $1.375MM deal for 2018, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports (on Twitter). That lands within $25K of his $1.4MM projection for the coming season. Kansas City controls Karns through 2020. Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports (via Twitter) that Kelvin Herrera will earn $7.9375MM in 2018, landing a bit shy of his $8.3MM projection. Herrera is a free agent next winter.
- The Indians have a $5MM agreement with righty Danny Salazar, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian tweets. He had projected to earn just $200K more, this falls right in line with expectations. Cleveland also agreed with Lonnie Chisenhall on a $5.5875MM deal, tweets Nightengale. The third baseman-turned-outfielder, who was projected to earn $5.8MM, will be a free agent following the 2018 season.
- Trevor May has a $650K agreement with the Twins for the 2018 season, according to Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. May, who missed the entire season due to Tommy John surgery (and did some writing for MLBTR during his rehab process), had been projected at $600K. The Twins also agreed to a $1MM deal with infielder Ehire Adrianza, per La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune. Meanwhile, righty Ryan Pressly has agreed to a $1.6MM deal, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. Both deals are identical matches with their projections. Adrianza has three years of team control remaining, while Pressly has two. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that outfielder Robbie Grossman settled at $2MM, leaving him $400K shy of his projection. Grossman is controlled for another three seasons.
- Tigers third baseman/outfielder Nick Castellanos will earn $6.05MM, per Heyman (via Twitter). He had projected at a much heftier $7.6MM in his second-to-last season of arb eligibility. MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports (Twitter links) that the Tigers and right-handed reliever Alex Wilson settled at $1.925MM, while fellow righty Shane Greene will earn $1.95MM. Wilson was projected to earn $2.1MM, while Greene was at $1.7MM. Wilson is controlled through 2019, while Greene is under control through 2020.
American League East
- The Yankees have knocked out some of their biggest arb cases, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). Shortstop Didi Gregorius receives $8.25MM and righty Sonny Gray checks in at $6.5MM. The former had projected to earn $9.0MM while the algorithm was just $100K high on the latter.Backstop Austin Romine will earn $1.1MM, Heyman also tweets, which is also $100K below the projection. Righty Adam Warren and the Yankees have a $3.315MM deal, per Murray (Twitter link). This is Warren’s final season of eligibility before hitting the open market next winter. He’d been projected at $3.1MM. Meanwhile, fellow right-hander Dellin Betances has agreed to a $5.1MM deal, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). That’s just $100K more than Betances had sought last year, when he took his case to a hearing that he ultimately lost. But it’s quite a bit more than the $4.4MM he projected to receive after a subpar season in which he played at a $3MM salary.
- The Red Sox have agreed to pay $8.5MM to southpaw Drew Pomeranz, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). That’s short of the $9.1MM that had been projected after Pomeranz turned in a productive 2017 season. Boston and Jackie Bradley Jr. settled at $6.1MM, tweets Murray. That’s a bit north of the $5.9MM at which he’d been projected for the upcoming season. Bradley Jr., a Super Two player, has another three seasons of club control remaining. Nightengale tweets that righty Joe Kelly ($3.6MM projection) agreed to a $3.825MM deal. He’ll be a free agent next winter. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez ($2.375MM salary vs. $2.7MM projection) and righty Brandon Workman ($835K salary vs. $900K projection) are two other Sox hurlers that have agreed to terms, Speier reports (Twitter links). On the position player side, catcher Sandy Leon falls a bit under his projection $1.95MM (via Speier, on Twitter) while utilityman Brock Holt just beats expectations at $2.225MM (per ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, on Twitter). The team also agreed with shortstop Xander Bogaerts for $7.05MM, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets, which comes in a bit shy of his $7.6MM projection. Boston also announced agreement with backstop Christian Vazquez, who’ll earn $1.425MM, per MLB.com’s Ian Browne (via Twitter). That’s just under the projection of $1.5MM.
- The Blue Jays and righty Aaron Sanchez agreed to a $2.7MM deal for 2018, according to Nightengale (Twitter link). That crushes his $1.9MM projection, which was likely suppressed due Sanchez’s lack of innings (just 36) in 2017. He’s under Jays control through 2020. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, meanwhile, tweets that second baseman Devon Travis will make $1.45MM next year, falling a bit shy of his $1.7MM forecast. Other Toronto players agreeing to terms include Kevin Pillar ($3.25MM vs. $4.0MM projection) and Dominic Leone ($1.085MM vs. $1.2MM projection), MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm tweets.
- The Rays and closer Alex Colome settled at $5.3M, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (on Twitter). He’d been projected at $5.5MM and is controllable for three more years. They also settled at $5.95MM with outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson ($6.4MM projection) and $4.5MM with infielder Brad Miller ($4.4MM projection), per Murray (all Twitter links). Steven Souza, according to Murray will earn $3.55MM, placing him right in line with his $3.6MM projection. Dickerson and Miller are controlled through 2019. Souza is controlled through 2020.
It has been known for some time that the Red Sox and J.D. Martinez have ongoing interest, with Boston reportedly dangling a five-year offer. In the latest update, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag writes that “acquaintances” of the open market’s top slugger believe Martinez is willing to wait to get a six-year deal — even if it means allowing camp to open without a contract in place.
Dollars remain uncertain, but Heyman provides some round numbers worth noting. Martinez is believed not only to be in search of six years, but at a premium rate of $30MM or more annually. To this point, the level of interest from teams is said to be “somewhere in the $120 million to $150 million range.”
Entering the offseason, MLBTR predicted that Martinez — who ranks second on the MLBTR list of the top 50 free agents — could land that sixth year, but at a $150MM total guarantee. We tabbed the Red Sox as the likeliest landing spot, with a variety of other teams standing as plausible alternatives.
The 30-year-old Martinez has unquestionably established himself as a top-flight hitter, with a .300/.362/.574 output at the plate since the start of 2014. That said, he lags somewhat in his glovework and baserunning. Poor grades from defensive metrics improved somewhat in 2017, though UZR and DRS both pegged Martinez as below-average in right. And Fangraphs has graded him as a notably sub-par presence on the basepaths in each of the past two seasons.
Despite his limitations, Martinez is understandably viewed as a top target. That status leaves significant leverage to work with for his agent, Scott Boras, who has frequently found big money late in the offseason. To date, Carlos Santana and Jay Bruce have each landed at or above MLBTR’s expectations with strong three-year deals, though neither broke through to earn the extra season they were seeking. Martinez and Boras evidently feel there’s still a possibility that they can convince a club to increase the commitment for a higher grade bat.
Heyman’s report indicates that organizations beyond the Red Sox are still in the hunt, which may help explain why Martinez has not been willing to move off his bargaining position. As he has suggested previously, Heyman says at least one other team has put five years on the table. Whether or not that’s the incumbent Diamondbacks is not known, but the report suggests Arizona is a serious suitor.
Still, all indications are that Boston is the most plausible fit. Reporters including Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston and WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford have examined things recently from the Sox’ perspective. The organization is obviously willing to plunk down some big cash for Martinez, but to this point has not been willing (or perhaps has not felt compelled) to promise another season. It also may still be factor that the Red Sox would plan to utilize Martinez primarily as a DH, while he’d prefer to play in the outfield.
- Red Sox ownership has given president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski more autonomy than his predecessors received, writes Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston, and it’s been Dombrowski who has primarily driven the Red Sox’ pursuit of J.D. Martinez. Drellich wonders if now is the time for Dombrowski and owner John Henry to begin showing this type of restraint — Boston has reportedly offered Martinez five years but drawn a line there — as New York and Los Angeles both loom as potential big spenders again next offseason. Drellich also takes a look at Dombrowski’s history of splashy moves (some of his own volition and some driven by late Tigers owner Mike Ilitch during Dombrowski’s days in Detroit) as well as his reputation as an executive that is, at times, willing to overpay on the free-agent and trade markets.
- The Red Sox have an agreement in place with catcher Oscar Hernandez, per Alex Kolodziej of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Hernandez, 24, has spent the past few seasons in the Diamondbacks organization after landing there — and ultimately sticking — as a Rule 5 pick back in December of 2014. A well-regarded defender, Hernandez hasn’t shown enough bat yet in the minors to receive a shot at a steady job at the game’s highest level. (That also cost him his 40-man spot in Arizona.) Last year, he compiled a .197/.257/.348 slash in 255 plate appearances at Double-A. Whether Hernandez will ever get things going at the plate remains to be seen, but he should at least represent a defensively viable depth option for the Boston organization.
The Red Sox announced that they’ve avoided arbitration with right-hander Carson Smith by agreeing to a one-year contract. The team did not announce financial terms, though Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports that Smith will earn $850K for the coming season (Twitter link). Boston also announced its previously reported one-year, $1.1MM deal with fellow arbitration-eligible righty Steven Wright.
The deadline for teams and players to exchange arbitration figures is this Friday, so it stands to reason that there’ll be a number of players agreeing to deals over the course of the next five days. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently tweeted that all 30 teams are believed to be adopting a “file and trial” approach to arbitration, meaning they’ll no longer negotiate one-year contracts beyond this Friday’s deadline (though multi-year extensions are typically still negotiated by file-and-trial organizations).
Smith, 28, was acquired in the 2015-16 offseason in a trade that sent Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro to the Mariners. He pitched just 2 2/3 innings for the ’16 Red Sox before requiring Tommy John surgery, however, and he was able to make it back to the mound for just 6 2/3 frames in Boston last year. His $850K figure falls shy of the $1.1MM projected arbitration salary from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.
Now healthy, Smith should play a considerably larger role in the Boston bullpen in 2018 and beyond. Prior to undergoing Tommy John surgery, he had a somewhat under-the-radar rookie breakout in 2015, tossing 70 innings of 2.31 ERA ball on the strength of 11.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 64.8 percent ground-ball rate in the Mariners’ bullpen.
This is the first of three trips through the arbitration process for Smith, who is controlled by the Red Sox through the 2020 season. The Sox still have a whopping 11 arb cases to resolve, including high-profile cases for Mookie Betts and Drew Pomeranz, both of whom project to earn more than $8MM. Other Red Sox that are up for arbitration include Jackie Bradley Jr., Joe Kelly, Tyler Thornburg, Xander Bogaerts, Brock Holt, Sandy Leon, Brandon Workman, Christian Vazquez and Eduardo Rodriguez.
- The Red Sox are reportedly wary of giving J.D. Martinez more than five guaranteed years, which is a justifiable stance given how often longer-term contracts have backfired on teams (including the Sox themselves). WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, however, presents the counterpoint, noting that an elite hitter like Martinez is a safer investment for a six- or seven-year deal since clubs like the Red Sox can eventually move him to a DH role. Boston has a clear need for a middle-of-the-order bat now, which Bradford feels Martinez can certainly fill in the short term given that the slugger (despite some recent injuries) has shown no signs of slowing down at the plate. MLBTR’s Top 50 Free Agents list predicted that Martinez would indeed land a contract beyond the five-year threshold, pegging him for six years and $150MM.
- Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said the Sox “are not looking to move” Blake Swihart, despite trade interest from other teams. The last two seasons were essentially a writeoff for Swihart, due to defensive issues behind the plate and ankle injuries that limited him to just 91 minor league games and 25 MLB games in 2016-17. Still, the Sox haven’t given up on the former top prospect, with Dombrowski noting that Swihart’s positional versatility has helped add to his value for the team. While Dombrowski noted that “you could never say you would not move him or anyone else,” Swihart is “still part of our plans….Sometimes you get stuck with players who are out of options. In this case, because of his flexibility, I think we’ve got a little better chance of getting through it.”
- Unlike Pillar and Cain, free agent outfielder J.D. Martinez is not a defensive asset. As such, the Red Sox will mostly use Martinez as a designated hitter if they sign him, Cafardo relays. With three better defensive outfielders in the fold in Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, deploying the big-hitting Martinez at DH would be logical. There are a couple potential complications, however, with Martinez reportedly preferring to remain an outfielder and the presence of DH Hanley Ramirez in Boston. The Sox may attempt to trade Ramirez if they add Martinez, though it could be difficult to find a taker; after all, Ramirez is expensive ($22MM in 2018 and, if he reaches 497 plate appearances this year and then passes a physical, another $22MM in 2019), aging (34) and coming off a poor season.