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Twins Avoid Arbitration with Six Players

Only Nick Gordon remains.

Minnesota Twins v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Today was the deadline for MLB teams and players to file their arbitration figures for the 2024 season, but the Twins were able to avoid the courts with two key cogs: Caleb Thielbar and Ryan Jeffers.

Thielbar agreed to a $3.225 million deal with the Twins ahead of the deadline, coming in above MLB Trade Rumor’s $3 million estimate. This is the Minnesota native’s final year of team control before heading to free agency next winter.

Jeffers’ will earn $2.425 million after his strong showing last season, which is also above MLBTR’s estimate of $2.3 million. Jeffers still has two more years of team control following 2024, and this first arbitration figure will set him up for some sizable raises in the future, provided he continues to perform.

Teams are still allowed to negotiate with their arbitration-eligible players up until the actual hearing dates (typically sometime in early February), but the filing deadline naturally leads to agreements ahead of time. If teams and players are unable to reach a deal, an independent arbitration panel hears both parties’ cases and gives the player either the salary proposed by the team or the player, not somewhere in between.

The Twins’ other arbitration-eligible players are Kyle Farmer, Willi Castro, Jorge Alcala, Alex Kirilloff, and Nick Gordon.

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE:

The Twins ended up reaching agreements with six of their seven arbitration eligible players, with Gordon remaining as the lone holdout.

Castro agreed to a $3.3 million salary for 2024, while Kirilloff came in at $1.35 million. Farmer and Alcala both agreed to structures that are a bit more unique.

Farmer’s base salary in 2024 will be $6.05 million, well below his projected $6.6 million. However, the deal comes with a mutual option for 2025 at $6.25 million with a $250K buyout attached. The buyout is only payed if Farmer exercises his end of the option and the Twins do not, meaning if Farmer has a good season and wants to reach free agency, the Twins aren’t on the hook for any additional money. While mutual options are rarely exercised, Farmer’s age will limit his potential earnings next year, so a one year, $6.25 million deal in 2025 could end up making a lot of sense for the Twins or any club they trade him to.

Alcala has a similar structure in place with a $790K base salary for 2024 and a $1.5 million club option for 2025 with a $55K buyout attached. If he stays healthy and performs well, $1.5 million is a steal for a reliever in his third trip through arbitration. If he doesn’t, the Twins can decline the option and negotiate a new deal, release him, or go to arbitration while only being on the hook for relative pennies.

The last remaining player is Nick Gordon who reportedly filed at $1.25 million while the Twins filed at $900K. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Twins only offered Gordon that salary, but rather that they feel they can get the arbitration panel to side with them at that number. If the Twins are negotiating with him as they did the rest of the group, they’ve probably offered him somewhere in between those figures.

As it stands, the Twins have saved about $660K from their projected arbitration pool, with the final number finishing between $760K and $410K of savings depending on where Gordon settles. While that’s not much for the Twins most years, any amount of additional payroll flexibility is important with the Twins reportedly cutting costs while the TV situation remains in question.

As our good friend John Foley pointed out to me yesterday, they’ve essentially saved enough money for another Brock Stewart. Now they just have to find one...