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UPDATE: And Then There Were 2: Salary Arbitration Nearly Complete PDF Print E-mail
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Salary Arbitration
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 15:27


UPDATE: Rays third baseman Willy Aybar has reached a two-year deal with an option for 2011 that could see Aybar earning as much as $4.525 million. Aybar will get $975,000 in 2009 and $1.35-million in 2010, then either a $2.2-million salary in 2011 or a $275,000 buyout. There are escalator clauses, based on how much he plays, that could increase the 2010 and 2011 salaries, and the whole deal to around $6-million, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.

It seemed like a long shot just a few days ago, but with two days left for scheduled hearings in MLB salary arbitration, only 2 players have yet to reach agreement or be ruled on, and even that is not quite right.

Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur, and Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman are all that are left of the 111 players that filed for salary arbitration on Jan. 15.

Today sees the following agreements reached, thus avoiding salary arbitration...

Second baseman Kelly Johnson reached a 1-year, $2.825 million agreement with the Atlanta Braves. Johnson had been seeking $3.3 million while the Braves were offering $2.35 million, a difference of $950,000. Johnson’s $2.825 million salary is the mid-point between the two figures.

Johnson also can make $50,000 for each of 620 and 670 plate appearances. In addition, Johnson can earn $50,000 for MVP, $50,000 for being an All-Star, $25,000 for being a Gold Glove, $25,000 for being the Silver Slugger, $50,000 for being the World Series MVP and $25,000 for being the LCS MVP.

Johnson, in his first year of salary arbitration eligibility, will see a raise of 557 percent from his 2008 salary of $430,000.

Also, outfielder Josh Willingham and the Washington Nationals reached a 1-year, $2.95 million agreement today. Willingham had been seeking $3.6 million while the Nationals were offering $2.55 million in salary arbitration, a difference of $1 million. Willingham’s $2.95 million is $125,000 below the $3.075 million mid-point between the two figures. His 2009 salary will be a 628 percent increase from the $405,000 that Willingham made in 2008.

If Francoeur and Zimmerman were to go to hearing, the maximum cases to be made before hearing would be five, the lowest total since 2003 when only three salary arbitration hearings took place (Kyle Lohse and the Twins, Jeremy Affeldt and the Royals, and Juan Cruz and the Athletics). Three decisions in hearing have been rendered this year:

  1. SP Shawn Hill won his case with the Washington Nationals thus receiving his$775,000 asking figure.
  2. Catcher Dioner Navarro lost his case with the Tampa Bay Rays, and therefore will receive the Rays $2.1 million offering figure.
  3. Second baseman Dan Uggla won his case with the Florida Marlins, thus his will receive his $4.4 million asking figure. 


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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