With the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players looming tonight at 8pm ET — the MLBPA and MLB jointly agreed to move the deadline up a couple days due to the looming expiration of the collective bargaining agreement — we’ll likely see a slew of arbitration-eligible players signing one-year deals.
It’s commonplace for a large batch of players to sign deals in the hours leading up to the tender deadline. “Pre-tender” deals of this nature often fall shy of projections due to the fact that teams use the looming threat of a non-tender to enhance their leverage. Arbitration contracts at this juncture are often take-it-or-leave-it propositions, with the “leave it” end of that arrangement resulting in the player being cut loose. Given the widely expected lockout, there could be more incentive than usual for borderline non-tender candidates to take those offers rather than being cast out into free agency just hours before a transaction freeze is implemented.
As a reminder, arbitration contracts are not fully guaranteed. In a typical year, a team can cut a player on an arb contract at any point before the halfway point in Spring Training and only be responsible for 30 days’ termination pay (about one-sixth of the contract). Releasing a player in the second half of Spring Training bumps the termination pay to 45 days of his prorated salary.
MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected salaries for each team’s arbitration-eligible players last month, although for many of the players listed below, this isn’t so much avoiding arbitration as it is avoiding a non-tender. Here’s a look at today’s agreements…
- The Yankees have agreed to deals with infielder Gio Urshela and right-hander Domingo German, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com (Twitter links). Urshela will make $6.55MM, while German has agreed to a $1.75MM deal. Urshela has two seasons of control remaining; German is controllable for three years. Urshela is coming off a .267/.301/.419 showing while playing third base and shortstop. German tossed 98 1/3 innings of 4.58 ERA ball.
- The Twins have signed three arbitration-eligible pitchers, per reports from Feinsand and Darren Wolfson of SKOR North (on Twitter). Right-hander Jharel Cotton signed for $700K, reliever Caleb Thielbar lands $1.3MM and reliever Tyler Duffey signs for $3.8MM. Thielbar and Duffey were both productive members of the Minnesota relief corps in 2021. Cotton was recently claimed off waivers from the Rangers.
- The Giants have agreed to terms with outfielder Austin Slater on a $1.85MM deal, reports Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic (Twitter link). The 28-year-old (29 next month) appeared at all three spots on the grass while hitting .241/.320/.423 over 306 plate appearances in 2021.
- Reliever Emilio Pagan and the Padres have agreed on a $2.3MM deal, reports Rosenthal (on Twitter). The 30-year-old worked 63 1/3 innings of 4.83 ERA/3.93 SIERA ball this past season.
- The Diamondbacks agreed to a $2MM deal with left-hander Caleb Smith, reports Zach Buchanan of the Athletic (via Twitter). The 30-year-old posted a 4.83 ERA/4.68 SIERA across 113 2/3 innings in a swing capacity in 2021.