Salaries have been dumped, players have been signed, and trade rumors have swirled. But with the deadline to submit estimates for salary arbitration looming, the nitty gritty part of the offseason is about to begin.
There is still time to get deals done to avoid arbitration, but as of now there are five Indians players eligible and unsigned: Delino DeShields, Francisco Lindor, Nick Wittgren, Mike Clevinger, and Tyler Naquin. MLB Trade Rumors estimates the group to be owed approximately $27.1 million with Francisco Lindor’s $16.7 million making up the bulk of it.
If the Indians end up paying out those exact MLB Trade Rumor estimates — which isn’t likely, there will be some wiggle room in there — they will have a payroll around $82 million in 2020, which would be their lowest Opening Day payroll since 2014.
Clubs and players are required to submit arbitration estimates by Friday, Jan. 10. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement by Feb. 3, they will go to arbitration court where things can get ugly as teams attempt to argue down the value that their star player(s) are worth paying.
It’s a process that the Indians have historically been good at avoiding. Prior to 2014 they went more than 20 years without going through it, until they went to court with pitchers Josh Tomlin and Vinnie Pestano. Since then the Indians have gone to arbitration with Trevor Bauer twice (one time that that was testy enough to get under Bauer’s skin), and lost both times.