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Playing Chicken: Final Week of MLB Salary Arbitration PDF Print E-mail
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Salary Arbitration
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 16 February 2009 17:12

MLBIt's time to get serious...

By Friday, those players still engaged in salary arbitration will have either reached agreements or had their hearing heard. That means heavy negotiations are going on with the players and clubs that are remaining.

Over the weekend, Ervin Santana of the Los Angeles Angels reached a 3-year, $30 million agreement, thus avoiding arbitration. With the settlement, Santana will make $3.8 million this season, $6 million in 2010, $8 million in 2011 and $11.2 million in 2012. His contract includes a $13 million club option for 2013 with a $1 million buyout. If the option is exercised, the agreement would be worth $42 million over five seasons.

Santana had been seeking $4.325 million while the Angels were offering $3.6 million, a difference of $725,000. His $3.8 million salary for 2009 is $162,500 below the $3,962,500 mid-point between the two figures.

Santana’s 2009 salary of $3.8 million is a 754 percent increase in salary from his 2008 salary of $445,000.

With Santana’s contract reached, there are 12 salary arbitration eligible players left:

  1. Mike Jacobs - Royals
  2. Willy Aybar – Rays (settlement pending)
  3. Conor Jackson - Diamondbacks
  4. Jeff Francoeur - Braves
  5. Kelly Johnson - Braves
  6. Edwin Encarnacion - Reds
  7. Andre Ethier - Dodgers
  8. Corey Hart - Brewers
  9. Nate McLouth - Pirates
  10. Ryan Ludwick – Cardinals (settlement pending)
  11. Josh Willingham - Nationals
  12. Ryan Zimmerman - Nationals

According to the St. Petersburg Times, Willy Aybar is close to a two-year deal with a 2011 option with the Tampa Bay Rays. "We're just down to the details right now," Aybar's agent Luis Valdez said to the St. Pete Times. "The Rays have been great. This is going to be a great deal for Willy and his family."

MLB.com is reporting that the St. Louis Cardinals and Ryan Ludwick are close to an agreement. As reported, Ludwick  is “so confident that he has canceled plans to fly to Arizona on Monday afternoon for what would have been a Tuesday arbitration hearing.” Any announcement of an agreement is likely not to be announced until later Monday night, at the earliest.

Ludwick is seeking $4.25 million in arbitration while the Cardinals are offering $2.8 million, a difference of $1.45 million. The mid-point between the two figures is $3.525 million.

The Cardinals have not had a salary arbitration hearing since 1999 when pitcher Darren Oliver lost his case

On the topic of free agency...

I have a guest article on MLB Trade Rumors today (see Down the Rabbit Hole: Looking at 2009 Free Agency) adding a bit more to the article on Sunday regarding this year’s free agent trends. As reported:

A total of $1,079,857,500 (yes, you’re looking at the number right, as in over a billion dollars) has been spent so far this off-season in the FA market over 154 contract years. Put the two together (without deferments and minor league contracts) and you get an average salary for FAs of $7,012,062. But, as mentioned prior, the Yankees have been spending like there’s no tomorrow, and that skews the figures.

Remove the Yankees from equation and you come up with an average salary of $4,914,288.

Look for an occasional article on MLBTR from me in the future, as well as an extensive article on salary arbitration for Baseball Prospectus shortly after all eligible players have reached deals or have been ruled on.

FOR MORE ON SALARY ARBITRATION SEE:


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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