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Cleveland Indians: Looking ahead to next year's arbitration

The Indians just avoided arbitration with all their eligible players just yesterday, it's not too early to talk about next year already, right? RIGHT?

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The Cleveland Indians front office will have at least a bit off of their minds in the next month as they avoided salary arbitration court with every one of their eligible players. However, arbitration is a yearly cycle and there will be more players up for arbitration next year as this young roster begins to age, plus every player this year will be heading into their second or third year of eligibility.

In order to avoid arbitration court this year, the Indians spent a total of $14.9 million in deals between Josh Tomlin, Bryan Shaw, Jeff Manship, Zach McAllister, Cody Allen, and Lonnie Chisenhall. The majority of these deals came right at the 1:00 p.m. deadline Friday afternoon, and the only other player who would have been eligible, Nick Hagadone, was released in December. It was a pile of relievers and a right fielder who is not a superstar entering their first year of arbitration; nothing too expensive or hard to swallow for the Tribe.

Here is a quick breakdown of next year’s arbitration-eligible players currently on the Indians:

Players entering Arbitration 3

  • Bryan Shaw
  • Josh Tomlin*

Players entering Arbitration 2

  • Cody Allen
  • Jeff Manship
  • Zach McAllister
  • Collin Cowgill
  • Lonnie Chisenhall

Players entering Arbitration 1

  • Dan Otero
  • Danny Salazar
  • Trevor Bauer

Next year is when things could get a bit trickier. I am not about to try and estimate arbitration values without 2016 being played out yet, but at the very least Cody Allen is probably going to start getting pricey as he heads into his second year of arbitration and fourth year of service time as one of the league's top closers. Given the Indians recent trend of throwing together a low-cost bullpen and using whatever sticks best, the Indians may decide against paying Allen a huge sum.

Much like he was this year, Lonnie Chisenhall will go into the season as a mystery. By the time 2016 is all said and done, he could be a great hitter or struggling to hang onto the roster, so who knows what kind of money he will command in his third year of arbitration. This will be Chisenhall's second-straight year entering Arbitration 2 as he did not accumulate service time while playing in Triple-A off the 25-man roster.

Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer will both be entering their first years of arbitration eligibility and at least the former should be expecting a hefty pay raise. If Salazar continues on the trend of recent years, he could be one of the best young pitchers in the league while Bauer hopefully turns it around next season and begins to come into his potential as a number two or three starter.

* Josh Tomlin will reach six years of service time, and thus be a free agent, if he accumulates 139 days of service time this season.