The deadline to file for arbitration came on Tuesday, and 133 players across the league did just that. Nine of those players are on the Boston Red Sox, a few of them in their final -- and most expensive -- year of arbitration.
Arbitration tends to have something of a pattern to it. In the first year, the team and player essentially have to decide on the player's free agent value, and then, they will agree to pay him about 40 percent of that value. In the second year of arbitration eligibility, the player will receive 60 percent of that value, and in the third year, 80 percent. Now, there is wiggle room -- when a player has a season like Jacoby Ellsbury did in 2011, it tends to cause a readjustment of the scale. In his first year of arbitration, Ellsbury was paid $2.4 million, meaning that, under this estimation system, the Sox and Ellsbury agreed that, at that point, his free agent value was in the realm of $6 million per year. After a healthy and MVP-caliber 2011, though, the terms had to be re-imagined, and Ellsbury pulled in $8.05 million, suggesting a new free agent value of closer to $14 million. With another season like 2011, or anything even approximating it, you would see that value vault into the stratosphere that agent Scott Boras is hoping for, but as of now it's weighed down by his pre-2011 performance, which includes a 2010 season in which he was injured and ineffective all year long.
These figures don't always perfectly add up to a player's eventual free agent value, as markets can change drastically over three years, and what other teams perceive a player to be worth can differ immensely from what a player's initial club believes them to be worth. Arbitration is a delicate process where the team doesn't want to offend the player or their agent with an offer, but at the same time, wants to avoid paying as much as they can without suffering the consequences of their stinginess.
Here are the nine Red Sox who filed for arbitration, along with their 2012 salaries and projected 2013 figures, MLB Trade Rumors has already projected the figures, accounting for the mathematical fudging necessary for the likes of Andrew Bailey and Daniel Bard, whose seasons cost them the expected raises of the above method of calculation.
|Player||Arb. Year||2012 Salary||2013 Projected|
|Franklin Morales||2||$850,000||$1.4 million|
|Andrew Miller||2||$1.04 million||$1.4 million|
|Daniel Bard||2||$1.6 million||$1.6 million|
|Craig Breslow||3||$1.8 million||$2.4 million|
|Alfred Aceves||2||$1.2 million||$2.6 million|
|Andrew Bailey||2||$3.9 million||$3.9 million|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia||3||$2.5 million||$3.9 million|
|Joel Hanrahan||3||$4.1 million||$6.9 million|
|Jacoby Ellsbury||3||$8.05 million||$8.1 million|
Personally, it seems likely the Red Sox give Ellsbury just a little more money, rather than an extra $50,000 or so (if that's even the case -- this could simply be $8.05 million rounded up). Something closer to $9 million seems appropriate, as a sign of good faith, especially given Ellsbury would have been in line for at least $11 million had he simply been his pre-2011 self in 2012.
Aceves wasn't very good, but he'll get a raise because he moved to the closer role, and that sort of thing would fly in an arbitration hearing. Rather than start a blood feud with the reliever they're already sure to be upsetting simply by not starting nor closing him in 2013, giving him something approximating the appropriate bump makes sense.
These seem close enough to right overall, though, and would put the Red Sox on the books for around $33 million, right around where they've been projected since the days of the Nick Punto trade. Some of the bodies have changed -- Scott Atchison, Ryan Sweeney, and Rich Hill are off the books, for example -- but things look like they've all washed out monetarily in the end.