Today marked the deadline for teams and players to exchange arbitration figures, meaning it’s also the day many teams and players agree to one-year extensions to avoid a trial. For some organizations, this also marks the end of negotiations, committing to an arbitration trial with any player with whom they don’t agree to a deal. Thankfully, the Red Sox are not one of these file-and-trial teams. That doesn’t mean they avoid negotiating extensions on deadline day, though. As of this writing, they’ve already gotten most of their arbitration-eligible players locked up for 2017.
The two biggest deals of the day went to Jackie Bradley and Xander Bogaerts. Due to his up-and-down start to his career — I’m sure you all remember the controversy around his promotions and demotions in 2013/2014 — Bradley is Super Two eligible. All this means is he’ll have four years of arbitration rather than the typical three. There’s no change to the years in which Boston will control the center fielder — he’s set to hit free agency following the 2020 season — but he’s set to make some more money before that time comes. In 2017, Bradley will be paid $3.6 million, setting himself up for a nice pre-free agency lump of cash assuming he doesn’t sign a long-term extension over the next few years. MLB Trade Rumors, who has an excellent track record of projecting these salaries on a yearly basis, predicted a $3.3 million deal for Bradley.
Bogaerts, on the other hand, isn’t a Super Two player and is hitting arbitration for the first of three times. The shortstop has obviously been outstanding over the last few years, and is a testament to how much the arbitration system undervalues players. He’ll be making $4.5 million in 2017, coming in way under MLB Trade Rumor’s projection of $5.7 million. Set to hit free agency in 2019, one would imagine the Red Sox will soon be hard at work locking up a long-term deal, avoiding the final two years of arbitration. If not, expect this salary to rise significantly assuming he continues to progress as we all expect him to.
Outside of these two, the Red Sox have avoided arbitration with five other players today.
- Brock Holt, in his first year of arbitration, will earn $1.95 million compared to a projected $1.7 million.
- The newly acquired Tyler Thornburg, also in his first year of arbitration, will earn $2.05 million compared to a projected $2.2 million.
- Sandy Leon, yet another player in his first year of arbitration, will earn $1.3 million, which exactly matches his projection.
- Joe Kelly, in his second year of arbitration, will make $2.8 million compared to a projected $2.6 million.
- Robbie Ross, also in his second year of arbitration, will make $1.82 million compared to a projected $1.8 million.
- Brandon Workman was another guy in his first year of arbitration, though he and the club avoided a trial back in December with a $635K deal. He was projected to make $600K.
That just leaves Fernando Abad and Drew Pomeranz as arbitration-eligible players who haven’t yet agreed to a deal. The Red Sox very rarely go to trial with their players, and it’d be a surprise if it happened with either of these lefties. We will update this post if/when they agree to a deal.
UPDATE: The filing figures for Pomeranz are in, with the lefty coming in at $5.7 million and the team at $3.6 million. This puts the two sides pretty far apart, as the difference between teams' and players' figures are usually in the hundreds of thousands, not the millions. I'd still be surprised if they go to a hearing, but someone may have to budge to get a deal done. For what it's worth, Pomeranz was projected to make $4.7 million. The midpoint between the two figures is $4.65.
UPDATE: And now we have the filing figures for Abad. As with everything involving the middling southpaw, this is much more boring than his counterparts. Abad is filing at $2.7 million, while the team has offered an even $2 million. This is close enough that a trial would be surprising.