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Article: Arbitration Decisions Looming

jake odorizzi kyle gibson miguel sano byron buxton max kepler
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 08:43 AM

The Minnesota Twins need to make a decision on 11 of their players on Friday. The deadline for determining whether to offer a player arbitration, or not, is one of those milestone dates on the baseball calendar. They don't have to sign a deal, just determine whether to offer the players a contract or not.

This year, players with at least 2.124 years (2 years and 124 days) of service time are arbitration-eligible. Those players between 2.124 service years and 3.000 service years are the Super-2 guys and will have four arbitration seasons (should they stay in the big leagues that long).

Today we will have a brief review of which players are arbitration-eligible. A reminder that you can find much more on these players (except CJ Cron, of course) in the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook. It's been a relatively quiet offseason, so if you haven't yet, you can download the Handbook (for free, if you choose).So, by Friday's deadline, the Twins need to either offer these players arbitration or non-tender them in which case they become free agents. Sometimes the two sides will reach an agreement before the deadline on a 2019 contract. That likely involves the Twins reaching out to the player and saying, "Hey, we will offer you $X to sign, otherwise we will non-tender you." Sometimes that can create a situation where the sides reach a deal on a multi-year contract. Sometimes they agree to a one-year deal and make it clear that they are open to a multi-year deal. Trades are also possible.

It is also important to remember that arbitration contracts are not fully guaranteed. The Twins could DFA these guys and depending on when, they will only owe them a portion of the total salary.

Let's take a look at the eligible players.

Jake Odorizzi (5.042) - $9 - 10 million

Odorizzi certainly had his ups and downs in 2018 with the Twins. He often wasn't able to get through six innings, but he ended pretty strong While the 2019 projected salary seems pretty high, the Twins have plenty of payroll, and Odorizzi does take the ball every time. There is value in that. Ideally, he's the Twins fourth starter.

Prediction: Tendered


Kyle Gibson (5.039) - $7.5 - 8.5 million

A year ago, many were surprised that the Twins offered Gibson arbitration. But he ended the 2017 season strong (after a couple of minor league stints earlier in the season) and the Twins brought him back. At this point, it's' a no brainer that the Twins want Gibson back for 2019 after a strong 2018 season. If Gibson is open to it, I'm sure the Twins may be interested in a two or three year extension, but Gibson is now one year from free agency and may want to experience that.

Prediction: Tendered


CJ Cron (4.097) - $5.0 - $5.5 million

Dude hit 30 home runs. The Rays just let him go for nothing. The Rays will go with Jake Bauers at first base and sign someone for cheap. $5 million for a guy coming off of the season Cron just had is a bargain. Easy choice to tender Cron a contract and get his bat in the lineup often. I mean, unless they go get Paul Goldschmidt.

Prediction: Tendered


Eddie Rosario (3.120) - $4.5 - $5.0 million

Rosario has hit well in three of his four big leagues seasons. Even though he tailed off over the final month of 2018, in large part due to injury, Rosario had a great year. He was in the Final Vote for the All-Star Game and really deserved the opportunity. There''s not much to say here. Easy choice for his first arbitration.

Prediction: Tendered (long-term discussions possible)


Robbie Grossman (4.060) - $3.5 - 4 million

Many seem to think that the decision on Grossman will be easy. He isn't a great defensive outfield and isn't versatile, so he's mostly a DH. He doesn't have a ton of power. But, he does get on base, and he does take very professional at-bats. And, $4 million isn't a lot. This decision shouldn't be as easy as many think. But...

Prediction: Non-Tendered


Max Kepler (2.152) - $2.8 - $3.2 million

Kepler's primary value to this point has been that he is a tremendous defensive outfielder, and there is a lot of value in that. Overall, there hasn't been as much year-over-year improvement as many would like to see with the bat, though there have been improvements made (vs LHP, plate approach). And, 20 home runs is never something to completely sneeze at.

Prediction: Tendered (and if it was me, I'd work for a long-term deal)


Miguel Sano (3.066) - $2.8 - $3.2 million

2018 was an awful year for Miguel Sano on and off the field. There were a couple of off-field investigations. There were a lot of strikeouts. There was a demotion all the way to Ft. Myers. But arbitration figures factor in more than just one season, and Sano was an All-Star in 2017, so this will be an interesting case. But, it's an easy decision.

Prediction: Tendered


Ehire Adrianza (4.131) - $1.5 - $2.0 million

This is another one that is probably a much more easy decision that one might think. Adrianza was a waiver claim by the Twins a couple of seasons ago, and he has been productive in his role has a utility infielder. He's probably been forced into more action than most would have planned and held his own. He can play four infield positions and left field adequately. Less than $2 million for a solid utility infielder is standard, maybe even low.

Prediction: Tendered

UPDATE (3:00 pm Thursday)



Taylor Rogers (2.145) - $1.5 - $2.0 million

Rogers was great in the first half of 2017 and struggled in the second half. In 2018, he put it all together and became one of the better left-handed relievers in baseball. Paul Molitor relied on him heavily, especially in the second half, and Rogers came through.

Prediction: Tendered (maybe a two-year deal discussed)


Byron Buxton (2.160) - $1.0 - $1.5 million

Another interesting case. Buxton's 2018 season was derailed by the early-season broken toe that affected him in the field and at the plate. He spent a lot of time on the DL and in Rochester. As you can see from his service time, that cost him an extra season before free agency. But again, in 2017, he received several MVP votes and won a Gold and a Platinum Glove for his elite defense.

Prediction: Tendered (and I would still be very open to a long-term deal)


Trevor May (4.012) - $1.0 - $1.5 million

May racked up a year of service time on the Disabled List, but he came back strong late in the 2018 season. In fact, he looked the part of a closer in September. Regardless of role or innings he may pitch, May is a guy who can be a real factor out of the Twins bullpen (or even as an opener).

Prediction: Tendered (consider a multi-year deal)


So there you have it. I'm predicting that the Twins will offer 2019 contracts to 10 of their 11 arbitration-eligible players. Most are no-brainers, and even the two players that many seem to think could be non-tendered are not easy decisions.

What will the Twins do with each of these players, and what should they do? That's up for debate and discussion. You can do so below.

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#2 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 08:58 AM

I agree. Pretty much everyone but Grossman will be tendered.

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#3 ashburyjohn

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 09:08 AM

CJ Cron (4.097) - $5.0 - $5.5 million

Dude hit 30 home runs. The Rays just let him go for nothing. The Rays will go with Jake Bauers at first base and sign someone for cheap. $5 million for a guy coming off of the season Cron just had is a bargain. Easy choice to tender Cron a contract and get his bat in the lineup often. I mean, unless they go get Paul Goldschmidt.

Prediction: Non-tendered

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#4 PDX Twin

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 09:10 AM

Easy choice to tender Cron a contract and get his bat in the lineup often. I mean, unless they go get Paul Goldschmidt.

Prediction: Non-tendered

 

Did you mean this to come out the way it did?

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It's great to get out of the cellar ... as long as you bring something with you.


#5 Winston Smith

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 09:39 AM

 

Did you mean this to come out the way it did?

Testing us to see if anyone is paying attention?

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If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.

 

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#6 Seth Stohs

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 09:53 AM

 

I agree. Pretty much everyone but Grossman will be tendered.

 

And if he is, it's not the end of the world. 1.) because of his plate approach, and 2.) because he's not a bad player, and 3.) because $4 million is nothing, and 4.) it's not guaranteed if someone else comes along. 

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#7 Seth Stohs

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 09:55 AM

 

Did you mean this to come out the way it did?

 

No... I didn't'... I can't even pretend to understand what I did there... Never once thought of him as a non-tender candidate, so I'm not sure how that happened. Ha!

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#8 JLease

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 09:55 AM

Lol, I'm sure Seth meant "Tendered" on Cron.

 

I agree with all of these. I know there's some who aren't in favorite of Odorizzi, but he was solid enough as a back end guy and there's real value in a guy who you can pencil in for 30 starts and feel competitive with him. He had a nice bounceback season and if he can cut down the walks back to 2015-2016 levels, he'll be a very solid 4th guy.

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#9 bobs

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 09:58 AM

Agree on every single one.Odorizzi will be overpaid for what his 2018 numbers were, but that's the going rate for starting pitching.I could see him being a "primary" if the Twins elect to use an opener once through the rotation.Obviously, it'll depend on what they add to the pitching staff this offseason.

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#10 tvagle

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:02 AM

Odorizzi - Tendered

Gibson - Tendered

Cron - Non-Tendered

Rosario - Tendered

Grossman - Non-Tendered

Kepler- Tendered

Sano- Tendered

Adrianza- Tendered

Rogers- Tendered

Buxton- Tendered

May- Tendered

 

 

So there you have it. I'm predicting that the Twins will offer 2019 contracts to 10 of their 11 arbitration-eligible players.

 

This must be the "NEW" math they're teaching up in Warroad

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Is it 2020 yet?


#11 Kelly Vance

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:12 AM

 

No... I didn't'... I can't even pretend to understand what I did there... Never once thought of him as a non-tender candidate, so I'm not sure how that happened. Ha!

Doesn't make you a bad person.

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#12 Kelly Vance

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:15 AM

I must have forgotten some of what I used to know about baseball contracts.If we have guys signed for 2019, why do we have to tender them if they are under contract? 


#13 Lee-The-Twins-Fan

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:28 AM

I agree. I hope they non-tender Grossman, but keep Adrianza, if for nothing else late inning defensive replacement, anywhere in the infield. I hope the Twins find a left-handed hitting 1B to platoon with Cron and Tyler Austin. 


#14 Mike Sixel

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:34 AM

Yup. Pretty easy decisions. Thanks Seth

I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.


#15 Lee-The-Twins-Fan

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:38 AM

Is it a coincidence that the Twins top two infield prospects - Nick Gordon and Luis Arraez – both bat left handed? I think the Twins are good at elevating left handed batters (Mauer, Kepler). Maybe it's a trend? That could affect the Twins decisions on whether to tender certain players, especially Grossman, if they feel these two have surpassed him in talent. And now that Mauer is retired, the remaining Twins are less left handed than before. That probably puts more pressure on Gordon and Arraez to perform...


#16 Seth Stohs

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:51 AM

 

Lol, I'm sure Seth meant "Tendered" on Cron.

 

I agree with all of these. I know there's some who aren't in favorite of Odorizzi, but he was solid enough as a back end guy and there's real value in a guy who you can pencil in for 30 starts and feel competitive with him. He had a nice bounceback season and if he can cut down the walks back to 2015-2016 levels, he'll be a very solid 4th guy.

 

And this is maybe a dumb reason and obviously there is no way to know what will happen, but playing for a guy he's very familiar with in Baldelli and working under a new pitching coach, and maybe opening himself up to new ideas on how to make himself successful... he could be something a little more too.

 

Maybe. 

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#17 ashburyjohn

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 11:54 AM

I must have forgotten some of what I used to know about baseball contracts.If we have guys signed for 2019, why do we have to tender them if they are under contract? 

The phrase usually seen for young players is "under team control" for a certain number of remaining years. The team is not obligated to offer a contract each year; the player can be released without further obligation. As the player gains seniority, the nature of the contracts also become less dictatorial by the team (e.g. arbitration).

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#18 cmoss84

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 11:54 AM

 

No... I didn't'... I can't even pretend to understand what I did there... Never once thought of him as a non-tender candidate, so I'm not sure how that happened. Ha!

I hope you are psychic and it was a Goldschmidt-ian Slip!

 

Grossman-let go. I'd be willing to bet Wade can match what he can do or better.

 

Odorizzi: let go. I like him, I really do. But 9-10 million can go a long way to an upgrade in the rotation.

 

Please sign Rosario/Kepler/Buxton/Sano to as many long term deals as possible!

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#19 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 12:18 PM

9 million for what Odorizzi provides is a question mark


edit: like the above poster, I do like him. If he's tendered I think we'll see him used a little differently than last year (his third time through the order is terrible, but he also had some rough first innings too)

Edited by Hosken Bombo Disco, 29 November 2018 - 12:24 PM.


#20 caninatl04

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 01:01 PM

First off, thank you for the article and the clarification that these contracts are not guaranteed.

 

I am not a big fan of Grossman by any means, but, in general, what's the "cost" of tendering even a marginal player?I'm thinking its a cheap option.Once the arbitration is settled, one could try to trade the player or cut him.

 

Might the cost be a 40-man spot?




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