MLB Trade Rumors has released their annual estimates for salary arbitration, and they have Cleveland on the hook for around $30 million between nine arbitration-eligible players. This comes with a few caveats, however.
But before that, head over there if you want to see the full projections for the league and an explanation of how they come to these estimates.
Here are Cleveland’s.
- Austin Hedges – $3.8MM
- Nick Wittgren – $2.8MM
- Amed Rosario – $5.0MM
- Franmil Reyes – $4.4MM
- Shane Bieber – $4.8MM
- Bradley Zimmer – $1.5MM
- Cal Quantrill – $2.8MM
- Josh Naylor – $1.2MM
- Harold Ramirez – $1.6MM
All but Amed Rosario, Nick Wittgren, and Austin Hedges are in their first year of arbitration. Amed Rosario comes in as the most expensive player by virtue of being an average player in his second year of arbitration, with Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber and slugger Franmil Reyes coming in behind him for their first big paydays.
Now for the caveats about these numbers.
For one, the Guardians probably aren’t going to bring all these guys back. Their impending roster crunch as they protect prospects from the Rule 5 draft has been a topic of conversation all season long, and decision time is coming quickly. This could mean players like Nick Wittgren, Harold Ramirez, and Bradley Zimmer might be on the chopping block to make room for the next core group of players.
The Guardians front office claims they will have the ability to spend in the offseason, and if they do it seems likely they would sign a big-name outfielder to fill their most glaring hole. That makes Ramirez and Zimmer almost expendable. And if the front office feels there is virtually no difference between these two and, say, Oscar Mercado and Daniel Johnson, it would also make sense to bring those two back under team control and save a couple million dollars by non-tendering Ramirez and Zimmer.
Or they could also just sign Michael Conforto. Just saying.
Second, the Guardians have a history of settling these deals before reaching arbitration court, so perhaps they can come in a little lower than expected. If you’re an extreme optimist, they could also offer multi-year deals for Beiber and/or Reyes (or Quantrill perhaps?) to save some money in the later years of their arbitration eligibility. It wouldn’t be the first time Cleveland has signed a deal with a former Cy Young winner to negate his arbitration years, either. Corey Kluber received a five-year, $38.5 million deal back in 2015 that included two team options and never had him making more than $18 million in any single season.
There is still a while before arbitration decisions need to be made, so don’t expect any deals to be dished out right away. Arbitration eligible players will need to be tendered by Dec. 1 or released, and exact figures will need to be exchanged by Jan. 14. If they can’t decide on a number in time, an arbitration court date will be set for sometime in February.