Although it’s going to be quieter in terms of MLB transaction activity overall from here on out in the offseason, there will still be rumors and moves, and there are still transactional deadlines to consider.
For example, this week marks a couple important deadlines for arbitration-eligible players (i.e., guys with more than three years of service time (or Super Two players), but less than six years of service time, and who aren’t already signed to a contract). First, players must file for arbitration by tomorrow, January 13, which is a perfunctory step. Then, on Friday, January 16, teams and players exchange arbitration salary figures. Recall, arbitration works like this: the team submits a salary request for the player for 2015, and the player submits a request. If the case proceeds to an actual arbitration hearing in February, the arbitrator may pick only one of the two salary figures. Most players and teams settle before it actually gets to that stage.
Indeed, many players and teams settle before they even get to the exchanging-figures stage. In other words, you should expect to see a number of deals announced this week, possibly a big chunk of them on Friday (happens every year at the Convention, consarnit).
The Cubs’ arbitration-eligible players are (together with years in arbitration, and my rough guess of the expected salary (players with an asterisk are Super Two players who get four years in arbitration)):
- Jake Arrieta (First time through arbitration, best guess is something in the $4 to $5 million range)
- Welington Castillo (First – $1.5 to $2.5 million)
- Chris Coghlan (First – $1.25 to $2 million)
- Felix Doubront (First – $800K to $1.25 million)
- Pedro Strop* (Second – $2 to $2.5 million)
- Luis Valbuena* (Third – $3 to $4 million)
- Travis Wood (Second – $4.5 to $5.5 million)
Remember, salaries in arbitration are not reflective of market value, and are instead dictated by a range of factors, including both performance (“traditional” stats often feature heavily) and service time. Salaries tend to rise steadily through a player’s arbitration years, and also tend to be heavily influenced by precedent among similar players with similar service time.