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Salary Arbitration Watch: Upton, Lindstrom, Jones, Lannan, Tejeda and Casilla PDF Print E-mail
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Salary Arbitration
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Monday, 17 January 2011 16:57

A busy day of arbitration signings:

Rays Work Out One-Year Deal with Upton

Last year, he went to the mattresses and lost. This year, B.J. Upton got his arbitration situation squared away early and without any acrimony. Marc Topkin of the St. Pete Times tweeted both news of the deal and the details. After losing his hearing last year and getting $3 million from the Rays, he sees a 60.8% raise to $4.825 million for 2011.

Upton had a break out season in 2007 as a 22-year old, but saw his power sapped after a shoulder injury in 2008 that required surgery that offseason. Upton began to see a return of his power in 2010, putting up 18 home runs and a batting line of .237/.322/.424 in 610 plate appearances with the Rays. The new contract makes Upton the highest paid Ray with several players awaiting resolution of the arbitration process.

Rockies and Lindstrom Agree on Two-Year Contract

The Denver Post's Troy Renck reports that the Rockies have secured the services of recently acquired reliever, Matt Lindstrom for the next two seasons, with a club option for a third. The total cost was $6.6 million guaranteed. Lindstrom earned $1.625 million last year pitching for the Astros in his first year of arbitration eligibility. He'll make $2.8 million in 2011 and $3.6 million in 2012. His contract calls for a $200,000 buyout of the 2013 option, that is worth $4 million. In addition to the option, Lindstrom has incentive clauses that could add an extra $1 million if he finishes more than 60 games in each of the next two seasons.

Lindstrom will fight for save opportunities with incumbent closer Huston Street. He saved 23 last season in his only year in Houston. He made 58 appearances and finished 41 games - a career best. His peripherals are unspectacular, and he gives up plenty of hits. In Colorado, that is hardly a recipe for success.

Orioles Find Common Ground with Jones

Dan Connolly over at the Baltimore Sun broke the story of Adam Jones new one-year, arbitration avoiding contract. Connolly followed up with the details of the pact, that will pay Jones $3.25 million in 2011. Jones made $465,000 last season, playing on a renewed contract, after narrowly missing super-2 status last season.  The new deal represents a 598.9% raise for the former gold glove winning centerfielder.

Jones turned 25 last August, and slipped slightly from his breakout season in 2009. His batting line of .284/.325/.442 in 621 plate appearances plays adequately in centerfield, but his 10 of 14 stolen base success rate from 2009 slipped to a 7 of 14 in 2010, which cut down his value to the club. Jones remains a plus defender at a premium position and is young enough and skilled enough to be a force in the Oriole line up for years to come.

Lannan, Nats Avoid Arbitration

The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore posts news of a one-year deal that the Nationals have worked out with John Lannan to avoid arbitration. He'll make $2.75 million next season, a hefty 500.4% raise from the $458,000 he earned in 2010 in his final season before becoming eligible for salary arbitration.

Lannan was the Nationals Opening Day starter in 2010, but found himself demoted to AA in June. His time in the minor seemed to help as his numbers in his final 11 starts (3.42 ERA and a 6-3 record) more closely resembled his combined line from 2008 and 2009 that helped earn him the Opening Day nod. Part of the reason for that was a 47-14 K/BB ratio in the 68.1 innings he pitched after being brought back to Washington. The 3.4 K/BB rate was significantly better than his career rate.  If he can maintain that control, his $2.75 million deal is a steal.

Royals Hammer Out Deal with Tejeda for 2011

In his second year of arbitration eligibility, Robinson Tejeda finally cracked the million dollar mark, signing a new contract with the Royals that, according to the Kansas City Star, will pay him $1.55 million in 2011. In 2010, Tejeda earned $950,000.

He had a solid season out of the Royals pen, making 54 appearances and putting up a 3.54 ERA. He had the same ERA in 2009, but 2010 represented a significant stride forward for Tejeda. He limited hits in 2009 with a wildness that allowed batters to draw more walks than base hits. But in 2010, the hits were up, but walks were way down. He was able to keep enough of the strikeouts to continue to be effective.

Twins, Casilla Have Agreement

Alexi Casilla and the Minnesota Twins may have set the market for first year arbitration eligible middle infielders who have yet to stick on a big league roster for a full season.  Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweeted Sunday that the two settled on a one-year contract that will pay Casilla $865,000 in 2011, a 97.7% increase over his 2010 salary of $437,500.

Casilla was named by Baseball America the number seven prospect in the Twins system in 2007, after he made his big league debut at age 21 in a nine game stint with the Twins. In parts of five big league seasons, Casilla has posted an anemic batting line of .249/.306/.327 in 1073 plate appearances. His utter lack of power has allowed pitchers to challenge him, which when combined with a relatively power batting eye has made walks scarce and outs plentiful. He retains value as a good defender with some speed.

Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor 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 can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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