The next stop in this (what seems like a long) off season is today, January 10. Today at noon Central is the deadline for Major League Baseball teams and arbitration-eligible players to exchange salary figures with each other. The salary figures represent the amount that each side believes the player should be paid for the upcoming season. Salary can be cut by no more than 20 percent from the player’s salary from the previous season.
Players are eligible for arbitration if they have more than three years but no more than six years of major-league service time. One year of “service time” is defined as 172 days on the 25-man roster (26-man roster moving forward) and the Major League injured list. Players that haven’t amassed three years of service time are considered pre-arbitration, or “pre-arb”, and subject to the league minimum, or the amount their team pays them (if the team wants to pay them more.)
With the trading of salary figures, it does not mean that the team and the player cannot continue to negotiate and agree on a deal. The two sides can certainly do so. However, if they do not agree on a number, then next month the sides will go in front of a panel who will hear each side’s story and then decide one of the two salary figures that were submitted. The panel cannot choose any figure other than the salary that each side submitted. The last time the Twins had to go to an arbitration hearing was in 2018, when their salary number was chosen over Kyle Gibson’s suggestion.
After the 2019 campaign, the Minnesota Twins had a total of ten players that were eligible for arbitration. Below are those players along with what they are projected to receive as a salary for the 2020 season and some insight. The projections are courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors, who somehow magically do a pretty near-perfect job with their projections versus actual results. You can see a list of all their arbitration projections here; the site explains their prediction model here.
INF Ehire Adrianza: $1.9 million
Adrianza and the front office came to an agreement for a 2020 salary in early December. Ehire will be guaranteed $1.6 million, $300,000 below what was projected. After seeing time in 83 games and batting .272/.349/.416, it seems like a right amount for the utility infielder to take home.
SP Jose Berrios: $5.4 million
Berríos is heading into his first year of arbitration in his career. After being paid $620,000 for his services in 2019, $5.4 million is a reasonable amount for the young pitcher. He’s turned in two straight seasons where he started 32 games, pitched near or over 200 innings, and exceeded or was close to 200 strikeouts. Berríos was also a member of the All-Star Game each of the past two campaigns.
OF Byron Buxton: $2.9 million
There are two sides to the coin that is Buxton: his defense and base-running skills are superb but his injuries have kept him off the field. Although it could be said that the front office kept him off the field towards the end of 2018 and some comments from the front office may have helped him earn his $1.75 salary for 2019. After another injury-plagued year, Buck turned in a .262/.314/.513 triple-slash with 14 stolen bases and 10 home runs. I’m still not convinced on Buxton because of his injuries so $2.9 million feels a bit high. I’m very nit-picky, but I believe that that a salary in the $2.25 to $2.5 million range is right for Buxton.
1B C.J. Cron: $7.4 million
Cron was picked up by the Twins after being non-tendered by the Tampa Bay Rays last off season. This off season saw the same thing happen to the first baseman after a season that saw a recurring issue and injury with his thumb. He was signed by the Detroit Tigers (along with Jonathan Schoop) for $6.1 million.
RP Tyler Duffey: $1.1 million
Duffey is also a Twins player entering arbitration for the first time. As a pre-arb player in 2019, he turned in his best year of his career so far. Duff Man pitched in 58 games and posted a 2.50 ERA (184 ERA+, 3.06 FIP), striking out batters at a 12.8 K/9 clip. $1.1 million is a good deal for Duffey.
RP Trevor May: $2.1 million
May enters his last year of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent before the 2021 season. He earned $900,000 last year and put up some great numbers: 2.94 ERA (156 ERA+, 3.73 FIP), 64.1 IP, 6.0 H/9, 3.6 BB/9, 11.1 K/9. I would not be surprised if the Twins were able to talk May to a lower salary than what is projected, but $2.1 million is a good pay day for May.
RP Taylor Rogers: $3.9 million
The “closer by committee” turned into the “Taylor Rogers Show” for the most part in 2019. He converted 30 of 36 save opportunities for the Twins while pitching to a 2.61 ERA in 69.0 IP and striking out batters at a rate of 11.7 every nine innings. With those numbers the best so far in his career, he also turned in a stellar 8.18 K/BB ratio in his 60 outings. After earning $1.525 million in 2019, I don’t see any issue with him earning the projected amount.
OF Eddie Rosario: $8.9 million
A generous contributor of the Bomba Squad, Rosario earned $4.19 million last year. In addition to hitting 32 bombas, he hit to the tune of .276/.300/.500 with 109 RBI. Rosie even garnered some points in the MVP vote. His defense was suspect at times, especially in right field, and he did miss some time with a sprained ankle. He’s been the subject of trade talks as well. $8.9 million is a fine amount for Rosario to earn in 2020.
3B Miguel Sano: $5.9 million
After starting the season on the IL, Sanó came back to launch 34 bombas and notch 79 RBI the rest of the season. As a power hitter, it is not a surprise to see his 2019 triple-slash at .247/.346/.576. He earned $2.65 million last season and in his second year of arb eligibility, the projection fits the bill.
RP Matt Wisler: $1 million
If you don’t know who Wisler is, it’s okay. I was surprised to see his name even though I did a Fanshot when he was claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. The righty hurler and Minnesota agreed upon a salary of $725,000 for the upcoming season.
RP Sam Dyson: $6.4 million
The Twins acquired Dyson at the trade deadline, and he was shut down due to medical issues shortly thereafter. With Dyson likely to miss most of the season due to surgery, the Twins outrighted him back in November, thereby avoiding arbitration. And that was before the other accusations came out.
With Dyson and Cron being nontendered, and Wisler already agreeing to a deal, that leaves the other seven players to potentially face arbitration.
What do you think? Do you believe a player is projected to earn too much or to little? What do you think each player should be earning? Let us know in the comments!