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Recent Blogs


Let's Make A Deal (Arbitration Edition)

Friday Updates will be added under each player's section as we hear news of signings or dollars exchanged.

As you recall in November, the Twins had to decide whether or not to tender 2019 contracts to their 11 arbitration-eligible players. CJ Cron agreed to terms, signing a one year, $4.8 million contract. Ehire Adrianza agreed to a one year, $1.3 million 2019 deal. Finally, they decided to non-tender Robbie Grossman.

That means that they now have to work with eight players and their agents on the arbitration process. By Friday, the two sides need to agree to terms, or they will have to exchange numbers. At that point, the sides can work together to try to avoid going to an arbitration hearing. Often they will meet at the midpoint. The two sides could also work on a long-term extension, though they can do that any time.
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA Today
Let’s take a look at the eight players who are up for arbitration and talk through the various options.

(Please note that the player number and team number are guesses by me after looking at arbitration-eligible players signing in the last couple of years. Mid-point is obviously just math.)
1st Year Arbitration-Eligible Players

Eddie Rosario - OF
2018 Contract: $602,000
MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $5.0M
Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Projection: $4.0M
Service Time: 3.120

Player number: $5.0 million - There aren’t a lot of similar players over the last couple of years. There are a lot of good players who have made between $2.6 and $2.8 million but Rosario has been better than them at the same stage. Jake Lamb is a third baseman, but he made $4.275 million coming off of being an All-Star. Rosario should get a little more than that, but shouldn’t ask for too much more as he likely wouldn’t get it.

Team number: $4.0 million - Again, there aren’t a lot of recent comparables, but Rosario has been really good in three of his four seasons, and both 2017 and 2018.

Mid-point: $4.5 million - One can’t help but wonder what these numbers may have looked like had Rosario stayed healthy over the final four to five weeks of the season. I think this would be a very fair deal for both sides.

Long-term contract? A long-term deal might make some sense for Rosario. With Rosario’s aggressive nature at the plate, would the team be willing to extend Rosario for the next four or five years? It seems unlikely. A two-year, $10 million type of deal might make some sense to both sides, but I don’t think a four-plus year deal makes as much sense.

Update:
The Star-Tribune is reporting that the Twins have signed all eight players,, including Eddie Rosario.



Max Kepler - OF
2018 Contract: $587,000
MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.2 million
Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Projection: $3.0 million
Service Time: 2.152

Player number: $3.25 million - Kepler has been worth an average of about 2.3 WAR each of his three seasons. He’s also played almost every day and been better defensively than both (players that the team may compare him to) while still hitting 18-20 homers a year. Has shown he can also play center field.

Team number: $2.75 million - At the same time in their career, Joc Pederson and Randall Grichuk got $2.6 million. With minimal inflation, I don’t think that the Twins can offer that same $2.6 million and need to bump it up just a little bit.

Mid-point: $3.0 million - This just seems like a good deal for both sides.

Long-term contract? Kepler is a Super 2 player, so the Twins have four more years of control. With Alex Kirilloff and LaMonte Wade on the horizon, there doesn’t seem like a lot of reason for the Twins to look to extend Kepler. However, if they believe in his talent, make-up and work ethic, it might be a good time to approach a long-term deal.

Update:



Miguel Sano - 3B
2018 Contract: $602,000
MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.1 million
Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Projection: $3.0 million
Service Time: 3.066

Player number: $3.6 million - Jake Lamb got $4.275 million at the same point in his career, but he was coming off of his second straight 30-homer season and drove in 105 runs. Sano’s side can’t approach that number.

Team number: $2.5 million - Maikel Franco, who wasn’t good in 2017, but still played a lot, earned $2.95 million in his first year of arbitration. Sano has played better than Franco, when healthy, but he has missed a lot of time, so the Twins shouldn’t feel they have to approach the Franco number. However, going too much lower than $2.4 million and they might not be able to win a case in front of a judge.

Mid-point: $3.05 million - While the mid-point in my guesses is the mid-point between the Twins Daily and the MLB Trade Rumors projects, this case is one that has a chance to go to arbitration because the sides could be further apart than others who might have a similar mid-point.

Long-term contract? Ummm… No. Sano’s side realizes that a long-term deal would be fairly low, conservative at this time. Sano has clearly put in work this offseason and owes it to himself to see how 2019 goes and if that hard work pays off. All of the questions that we as fans have about Sano, the front office certainly would have too, right?

Update:


Byron Buxton - OF
2018 Contract: $580,000
MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million
Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Projection: $2.0 million
Service Time: 2.160

Player number: $2.25 million - Michael Taylor got $2.525 million with the Nationals, but the speedy center fielder was coming off of a season that was closer to Buxton’s 2017. Had Buxton been arbitration-eligible, $3-4 million would have been possible. But, he had a rough, injury-plagued 2018.

Team number: $1.5 million - Others with similar deals include Ezequiel Carrera ($1.16M), Aaron Hicks (first arbitration - $1.375M), Enrique Hernandez ($1.6M), and Leury Garcia ($1.175M). Buxton is so great defensively, when on the field, that they shouldn’t go as low as these guys, even if they had played more.

Mid-point: $1.875 million - MLB Trade Rumors is far lower than this, but I just don’t see how that can be if the players listed in the “Team Number” section are at that number or higher. Kike Hernandez hit .190 and .215 without a lot of power for the Dodgers in the two seasons before his first arbitration season. There is no reason that Buxton should get less than that.

Long-term contract? While there would be a lot of risk, Buxton’s defense alone makes him worth at least considering long-term. But, at this point, it might be a year early for that conversation. Also, as a Super 2, the Twins control his rights for the next four seasons.

Update:


Taylor Rogers - LH RP
2018 Contract: $565,000
MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.6 million
Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Projection: $1.5 million
Service Time: 2.145

Player number: $1.9 million - A look at the relievers who were first-year arbitration-eligible is interesting. The guys who have been good for a couple of years are all in the $1.6-2.1 million range. If the player has a bunch of saves, then that number goes up quite a bit. The guys with mediocre success are in the $1.1-1.3 million range. Taylor Rogers was very good through the first four months in 2017 and the final four months of the 2018 season. At the end or 2018, he was one of the best lefty relievers in the league.

Team number: $1.4 million - The Twins can’t try to go even on the lower end of the “mediocre” group of reliever values. I think they know that they have to at least be on the upper end of that group.

Mid-point: $1.65 million - Again, this number just seems to make a lot of sense for Rogers.

Long-term contract? Another Super-2, the Twins have four more years of control of Rogers. There is absolutely no rush to do anything right now. Going five or more years on a relief pitcher doesn’t make a lot of sense, unless the price is right. Cost certainty is what the Twins would be going for. As a lefty reliever, who probably won’t be a closer type, Rogers probably knows that he will never make the real big free agent money. So, there is definitely some room for conversation. How about something like $1.5 million in 2019, $2.5 million in 2020, $3.5 million in 2021. It could be a guaranteed $7.5 million for Rogers The risk for the Twins would be very low. The risk for what Rogers could make over this is also fairly low, maybe a million or two while at the same time being set for life.Plus, he would still have a year of arbitration after that contract runs out.




2nd Year Arbitration-Eligible Players

Trevor May - RH RP
2018 Contract: $650,000
MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.1 million
Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Projection: $1.5 million
Service Time: 4.012

Player number: - $1.5 million - It’s hard to predict what a player who missed a full season with Tommy John will get in arbitration. Obviously a year ago, May had to settle for a value barely over MLB’s minimum salary. In 2018, he returned mid-season and struggled a bit. But when he came back, he looked terrific. In fact, by season’s end, he put himself into the discussion for closing and late-inning relief plans for 2019 and beyond.

Team number: - $1.0 million - From purely the business side of things, May’s overall numbers the last two years are not going to make him a lot of money, so the Twins shouldn’t feel like they have to come in real high. Regardless of future plans for May, arbitration is going to be based on (usually) the last two seasons and that isn’t positive for May.

Mid-point: $1.25 million - I think this is a good number.

Long-term contract? Since May has just two more years of team control, this would be the time when a long-term deal should be approached if the Twins feel that he is 100% recovered and can stay healthy and productive for the next several seasons. I believe in May. I would really try to work out a deal in the four year range.

This could be tough to negotiate, however, because of the way bullpens are changing. In the past, May would likely be heading into the season as the top candidate for the closer job. Now teams use bullpens differently and a guy like May can be used in a critical game situation anytime between the seventh and ninth innings. So saves may not be there, and typically saves have been what teams have paid for.

So, I like the idea of something like this. $1.1 million in 2019, $2.4 million in 2020, $3.75 million in 2021 and $5.25 million in 2022. That deal would buy out two years of free agency and be worth four years, and $12.5 million.

I would also include some sort of escalation incentives on something like (though I’m just spit-balling) appearances in the seventh inning or later. Maybe if he reaches 50 such appearances in 2019, each subsequent year’s base salary increases by $250,000. Maybe at 60 such appearances, it increases each future season’s base salary by $500,000. Basically, the more high-leverage situations he pitches in, the more money he can make. With such a deal, May could make as much as $3 million more ($15.5 million over four years). It doesn't put him in the Felipe Vazquez (4 years, $22 million deal with a couple of option years), but with the timing and risk, it shouldn't. That would still be a number that the Twins could feel comfortable with, and yet it would also give May long-term financial security.

Update:



3rd (and Final) Year Arbitration-Eligible Players

Jake Odorizzi - RH SP
2018 Contract: $6.3 million
MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $9.4 million
Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Projection: $10.0 million
Service Time: 5.042

Player number: $9.5 million - I mean if MLB Trade Rumors is projecting that he gets $9.4 million, there’s no reason for Odorizzi’s camp to ask for any less.

Team number: $8.0 million - Odorizzi’s stats got worse for the third straight season, and he’s never been an innings eater.

Mid-point:.$8.75 million - This seems to be a big enough discrepancy that the team may just decide to go to arbitration, willing to eat an extra $750K if they lose on a one-year deal. And as we know, the Twins have plenty of money to not worry about it this offseason.

Long-term contract? Maybe, but probably unlikely. Nick wrote about the reasons to extend Odorizzi rather than Gibson last month, not the least of which is that he is three years younger. It’s hard to envision such a deal coming before the season, and if it would, it would likely be a two-year deal, allowing him to go into free agency following the 2020 season, still just 30.

Update:



Kyle Gibson - RH SP
2018 Contract: $4.2 million
MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $7.9 million
Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Projection: $8.5 million
Service Time: 5.039

Player number: $8.5 million - One name to consider is Michael Pineda in his final season of arbitration. His final three seasons before free agency included three seasons of an ERA in the mid-4s. He received $7.5 million. That was two years ago… Gibson was fantastic in 2018 and trending positively. He should be higher than that Pineda deal by a bit.

Team number: $7.25 million - A year ago, in his final year of arbitration, Patrick Corbin received $7.5 million. As good as Gibson was in 2018, Corbin was a bit better in 2017. Gibson’s numbers in 2017 were a tick behind Corbin’s numbers in 2016. So the Twins contract to compare against might be Corbin.

Mid-point: $7.875 million - This is another case where the sides are far enough apart that they may want to just go to arbitration and see what happens. The Twins have money. Or, it’s possible that instead of going to the mid-point, maybe the Twins brass would be willing to go a bit beyond the mid-point.

Long-term contract? Kyle Gibson took his game to another level in 2018, and he was consistent all year. After years of his getting back from Tommy John and unable to find consistency, he figured things out in the second half of 2017 and it appears that he may have become what scouts felt he could be all along. There is certainly reason to keep him in a Twins uniform if he’s willing to forego free agency and work with the Twins on a three-year extension. If he pitches like he did in 2018, Gibson could get a three-year, $45-50 million deal next year.

Update:



The deadline for filing the numbers is on Friday, but we are already starting to see deals made on Wednesday. Many more will agree to terms throughout Thursday, and my guess would be that most of the eight players will reach an agreement. As you see above, there certainly are cases where they could go before an arbitrator.

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62 Comments

Article updated to include the deals for Buxton, Miguel Sano and Jake Odorizzi. 

Name one other company in the US where following a terrible performance (like worst in the industry), an employee whines about the company to the media at a charity event, and in return, the company raises the pay and comes out and states that the employee will face no internal opposition the next spring for a job - in an industry where that is standard. 

 

That company, my friends, is the Minnesota Twins.

 

Golden Boy status has been passed down from Mauer to Buxton. No accountability required. 

 

Why would Rosario sign that? He's practically guaranteed more that that through the next 2 years of arbitration.

I was just responding to the numbers used in the OP and using them as examples of front loading not making actual suggestions. The OP had 2 years/10 million as a number so my numbers are the exact same 10 million total.

Updated now for Kepler and May who both agreed to terms. 

 

Name one other company in the US where following a terrible performance (like worst in the industry), an employee whines about the company to the media at a charity event, and in return, the company raises the pay and comes out and states that the employee will face no internal opposition the next spring for a job - in an industry where that is standard. 

 

That company, my friends, is the Minnesota Twins.

 

Golden Boy status has been passed down from Mauer to Buxton. No accountability required. 

 

And any other team in MLB where the same situation would arise at the same time since those are the rules of arbitration... 

    • ashburyjohn, birdwatcher, Puckett34 and 4 others like this

 

Name one other company in the US where following a terrible performance (like worst in the industry), an employee whines about the company to the media at a charity event, and in return, the company raises the pay and comes out and states that the employee will face no internal opposition the next spring for a job - in an industry where that is standard. 

 

That company, my friends, is the Minnesota Twins.

 

Golden Boy status has been passed down from Mauer to Buxton. No accountability required. 

 

I think that is a disingenuous characterization of what happened.If you read the article Buxton believed he would need to compete for his job next\this year.His only real beef with the Twins was he felt he was fully healed and had been playing well in AAA and the Twins didn't call him up in September and he has a good point there.The Twins didn't call him up to save a year of service time which isn't exactly playing fair depending on how you look at it.He didn't blame the Twins for doing it or say anything other than he didn't think that was completely fair to him and he seemed a little steamed about it.I would bet he didn't like the way he played early in the year and the fact he never got a chance to redeem himself probably hurt as well.I can understand that.Competitors like to compete not go home while the season hasn't ended yet.

 

I am not sure what your beef is with the Twins stating he doesn't have any real competition for the position.When healthy he is the best defensive center fielder in baseball.You can't get anyone better.Yeah he has issues at the plate and that is a concern but the only way he can get better is to keep trying at the MLB level.

 

By gaining\stealing that extra year of service they cost Buxton some serious money.The least they could do is be a little generous in arbitration.

    • birdwatcher, NapoleonComplex, gbg and 1 other like this

Updated with deals for Taylor Rogers and Kyle Gibson. Appears only Eddie Rosario remains. 

 

 

    • Carole Keller likes this

Glad they went a little higher with Kyle since they took him to arbitration last year.Was kind of hoping they could work out an extension but I would guess Kyle wants to bet on himself and see what happens.

 

Looks like most of the numbers worked out about how everyone expected them to,.

 

Glad they went a little higher with Kyle since they took him to arbitration last year.Was kind of hoping they could work out an extension but I would guess Kyle wants to bet on himself and see what happens.

 

Looks like most of the numbers worked out about how everyone expected them to,.

 

There is no reason that they can't still work out an extension. Both sides may or may not want to.

 

I know a year ago at Twins Fest, it was clear that Brian Dozier wanted to sign with the Twins and stay here for a long time. The front office seemingly had no interest in that. With Gibson, I don't know. I'm sure Gibson would like to stay, but he also probably wants to experience free agency. 

 

And any other team in MLB where the same situation would arise at the same time since those are the rules of arbitration... 

The Twins avoided arbitration and gave him a better deal than he would have gotten had he gone through the process.

It's a "conciliatory gesture" to avoid unpleasantness. Too late. That ship sailed

Updated now for Kepler and May who both agreed to terms.

Sorry, what? How did Trevor May sign for less than the number offered by the Twins? That’s perplexing.

The Twins avoided arbitration and gave him a better deal than he would have gotten had he gone through the process.


You have no way of knowing what he would have gotten in arbitration.
    • howieramone2 likes this

Sorry, what? How did Trevor May sign for less than the number offered by the Twins? That’s perplexing.


These were predictions by Seth, not numbers actually submitted.

Sorry, what? How did Trevor May sign for less than the number offered by the Twins? That’s perplexing.

IKR! Team offered 1 mil, settle on 900k makes no sense, unless there are appearance incentives or rounding errors

These were predictions by Seth, not numbers actually submitted.

the settlement was an estimate. The player and team submissions appear to be published

 

Sorry, what? How did Trevor May sign for less than the number offered by the Twins? That’s perplexing.

 

The Player Number and the Team Number were just my guesses for where those sides might come in if they had to exchange numbers. 

the settlement was an estimate. The player and team submissions appear to be published


I don't believe it even reached the stage yet where they'd submitted numbers.
Can you link where these submissions were published?
Photo
howieramone2
Jan 12 2019 12:50 PM

 

It's a "conciliatory gesture" to avoid unpleasantness. Too late. That ship sailed

The ship doesn't sail for 4 years. If he wants to become rich before then, there is only 1 number he can call.

 

The ship doesn't sail for 4 years. If he wants to become rich before then, there is only 1 number he can call.

That ship sailed as far as the unpleasantness goes

 

You have no way of knowing what he would have gotten in arbitration.

Is this a rebuttal?When you say something like that it sure sounds like one.So how about this.....

 

Here is what we do know: Team Buxton took the deal.If they thought they had a strong chance doing better in arbitration they'd have gone for it.Dare I say they have more knowledge of the situation?  Traderumors.com projected 1.2 million for him.Are you a more reliable source than those two entities that are much closer to the situation that either of us? 

If you can explain to me how an arbiter would rule in favor of a deal greater than what Buxton got from the Twins then please explain your rationale behind that one because it really makes no sense to me.

I don't believe it even reached the stage yet where they'd submitted numbers.
Can you link where these submissions were published?

you are right, Friday was the deadline to file or settle. Being that they settled, the team prolly didn’t file.

https://www.cbssport...iling-deadline/

http://m.mlb.com/glo...ary-arbitration

Is this a rebuttal? When you say something like that it sure sounds like one. So how about this.....

Here is what we do know: Team Buxton took the deal. If they thought they had a strong chance doing better in arbitration they'd have gone for it. Dare I say they have more knowledge of the situation? Traderumors.com projected 1.2 million for him. Are you a more reliable source than those two entities that are much closer to the situation that either of us?
If you can explain to me how an arbiter would rule in favor of a deal greater than what Buxton got from the Twins then please explain your rationale behind that one because it really makes no sense to me.


You are the one claiming to know what he would have gotten in arbitration.

The fact he settled, alone, is hardly some kind of evidence that they threw him an olive branch. 90% of the cases in baseball will settle before going to arbitration.

Neither one of us know what he would have received.
Nor do MLB trade rumors. They are guessing, just like us.

Name one other company in the US where following a terrible performance (like worst in the industry), an employee whines about the company to the media at a charity event, and in return, the company raises the pay and comes out and states that the employee will face no internal opposition the next spring for a job - in an industry where that is standard.

That company, my friends, is the Minnesota Twins.

Golden Boy status has been passed down from Mauer to Buxton. No accountability required.


Or an industry where employees can't switch companies for about ten years... Counting time in the minus minors.

This is all part of the contract they agree to, and has nothing to do with accountability.
    • Carole Keller, beckmt and jokin like this

 

 

 

By gaining\stealing that extra year of service they cost Buxton some serious money.The least they could do is be a little generous in arbitration.

 

"Serious money."

 

This common perception has had a lot of evidence-supported pushback. Buxton is in the situation he finds himself in largely based on what he has thus far accomplished (or not).

 

Which begs the question... how much is a player worth during his arb years strictly based on promise versus actual performance? "Hurt feelings" aside, the fact remains, when/(if) Buck finally has the monster season (7+ fWAR), the big extension offer will come in, and in the process he stands to make back all of the money he "lost" during this first round of arb-eligibility.

    • adorduan likes this

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