Arbitrary Thoughts

17 Jan

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On Sunday, the Twins avoided arbitration with infielder Alexi Casilla by agreeing to a 2011 contract worth $865,000. Assuming that Casilla can remain the Twins starter at shortstop or second base throughout the season, it is a great contract. In the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook, we projected that he would sign for about $800,000.

By tomorrow, the Twins will be working with the agents of five more Twins players who are arbitration-eligible. If you recall last year, all of the Twins arbitration-eligible players agreed to deals with the Twins before numbers needed to be officially exchanged. I would anticipate that a few of the five remaining players could come to an agreement, but I also think that it is likely we will see some numbers exchanged. Here are the players:

Glen Perkins – This one ought to be interesting. He made about $430,000 when he was in the big leagues in 2010, which wasn’t too much. No one knows how big of a factor the past issues between the Twins and Perkins’ camp will play into this. TwinsCentric projected that he’ll make $800,000 in arbitration. I’d like to think it’ll be closer to $600,000. This is why I think that we may find out. Seth Guess: $700,000.

Kevin Slowey – After making $470,000 in 2010, Slowey is eligible for arbitration for the first time. He has the win-loss record. He’s got league-average ERA. He doesn’t walk people. Good strikeout rate. TwinsCentric’s $2.75 million seems a little bit high, but that’s what guys of this ilk make. I’d like to see it closer to $2.25 million. Seth’s Guess: $2.4 million.

Francisco Liriano – In his first arbitration year last year, he made $1.6 million coming off of a couple of bad seasons. Now he’s coming off of a terrific season. I mentioned that I thought a four year, $40 million deal would be market value, and I’m sure they will have some discussions. But that wouldn’t happen until spring training begins, so for now it’ll be about putting a 2011 deal in place. TwinsCentric projects $4.5 million, and I fear that may be a little bit low. Seth’s Guess: $4.5 million, and negotiate later.

Delmon Young – Young finally had a season that many hoped he might have, although it still produced just an .826 OPS. That said, .298 with 21 homers and 112 RBI will look good to arbiters. TwinsCentric projects $5.25 million, and although I think that’s a reasonable amount, I’d fear it could be higher. Seth’s Guess: $6.2 million.

Matt Capps – Capps was non-tendered a year ago by the Pirates and signed for $3.5 million by the Nationals, and as you of course know, came to the Twins at the July deadline. In his final year of arbitration-eligiblity, the comps for him are all over the place. He has the big save number from 2010, but if arbitration is based on two years, he was bad in 2009. TwinsCentric projected $7.5 million. I HOPE it is lower than that, but we shall see. Seth’s Guess: $6.25 million.

What do you think about it? Feel free to e-mail me or leave your comments here.


17 Responses to “Arbitrary Thoughts”

  1. Greg January 17, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Hope they compete with all the salary increases, otherwise trade, dismantle and get cheaper parts. Win Twins..

    No fuentes, Veras, could a Troy Glaus make a difference as RH hitter?

  2. TB January 17, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    A couple of those seem high. Considering injuries and that he’s not Liriano-caliber, I can’t see Slowey leaping to over $2 million. While he’s a good pitcher, even when he’s healthy, he often struggles to reach 5-6 innings. Perhaps something more like $1.6-1.8 million for next 2011?

    I can’t see Young exceeding $6 million either. Something around $5 million seems more reasonable.

  3. tom January 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    wondering why the Twins haven’t been spending on FA’s?????this is why. good yrs get rewarded and they will only go up again next yr. I agree with Seth 4yr’s $40 mil sound fair for Liriano. IF DY has another strong yr I think you might see him get locked up in 2012.

  4. TT January 17, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    Here are the criteria for arbitration:

    “(1) the player’s contribution to the club in terms of performance and leadership;

    (2) the club’s record and its attendance;

    (3) any and all of the player’s “special accomplishments,” including All-Star game appearances, awards won, and postseason performance;

    (4) the salaries of comparable players in the player’s service-time class and, for players with less than five years of service, the class one year ahead of him.”

    Here is a link to the description:

    Every Twins player in arbitration is going to benefit from increased attendance and the team’s record last year.

    You will notice, there is nothing about the player’s current salary as creating a baseline. The question is how well similar players are paid, not how big a raise they deserve.

    Perkins didn’t contribute much last year, having spent almost the entire season in the minor leagues. My guess is that most players with three years of experience who spent last season in the minor leagues are making close to the major league minimum. As a result, Perkins is not going to get a lot of money.

    If I was ranking the others by their contribution to the Twins it would be
    Liriano, Young, Slowey, Capps.

    Of course, Capps will get credit for his contributions to the Nats as well. I am not clear if the Nats record and attendance are part of the equation as well. My guess is the Twins will argue it ought to be.

    Slowey is going to make close to $3 million. He pitched over 150 innings, despite his injury and he won 13 games in the process.

    I agree with Tom. The Twins are not going to spend on free agents because their money is better spent on their own young players. Letting Capps go so you can sign Fuentes is the kind of thing bad organizations do.

    • mike wants wins January 18, 2011 at 9:31 am #

      Fuentes is a better pitcher than Capps (or nearly identical), and Capps cost you Ramos also, not just more money.

      • TT January 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

        Fuentes is eight years older than Capps and is going to sign a 2 year deal for $10.5 million. He cost the Twins Loek Van Mil. Not offering Capps arbitration doesn’t get them Ramos back.

        Capps produced half again as many outs last year as Fuentes. He had 73 IP, compared to Fuentes 48.

        Their career numbers may be vaguely similar, but Capps is at an age where you would expect him to improve on his career numbers and Fuentes is at an age where you would expect him to continue to decline.

  5. Mike in SD January 17, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    Alexi is on right now.

  6. mike wants wins January 18, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    $6MM or more for Capps, or two of the middle relievers they let go for about $1MM more….I know what I would have chosen, and it isn’t Capps.

    $6MM for Young, a guy that can’t play D, and was decent to good as a hitter for the first time in his career. As I’ve said, by the time he gets “good”, he’s going to be very expensive (and likely not worth it).

    • TT January 18, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

      Fuentes, Guerrier and Crain all got more than $6 million guaranteed. Rauch is the only guy who signed as a free agent for less than the Twins will have to guarantee Capps. I think he would have earned more than Capps in arbitration.

      • mike wants wins January 18, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

        You are right, I meant two of the middle relievers available on the market. Look, I just don’t value saves all that much. I think this money could have been better spent on, say, a legit starting SS or two relievers. We disagree. Capps was so bad a little while ago he was cut, he could progress, or he could stink….

      • TT January 18, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

        ” think this money could have been better spent on, say, a legit starting SS or two relievers.”

        You aren’t going to get either of those on the free agent market for $7 million.

        Sure Capps could stink. Obviously the Twins don’t think he will and they did pretty well based on that last year. But any pitcher is an injury away from being useless – witness Nathan. That’s why spending a bunch of money on multi-year contracts for mediocre free agents is a huge waste of money.

        The reason people don’t value saves is that they have forgotten 2001. The Twins were set to win the division until Latroy Hawkins melted down. Its no coincidence that every Twins championship team has had a solid closer.

  7. mini_tb January 18, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    $7.15MM for Capps (according to MLBtraderumors)? OUCH!

  8. Bill in Sarasota January 18, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    1. Most of us were against the Ramos-Capps deal when it occurred because of Ramos upside and that the arb process rewards saves too much.
    2. Smith misjudged the relievers FA market.
    3. For a little bit more we could have had Guerrier/Crain and Fuentes.

    • TT January 18, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

      Bill –

      What are you talking about? Crain got $13 million. Guerrier got $12 million. It appears Fuentes is going to get over $10 million. And there is no guarantee any of them would have signed with the Twins. Any two of those guys was going to cost three times the money they are guaranteeing Capps.

      • Bill in Sarasota January 19, 2011 at 8:09 am #

        Obviously I’m talking about on a yearly basis.

        You need relievers for the following years as well.

  9. mike wants wins January 19, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    Um, Hardy was signed for $5.8MM, so they already had the legit SS…..for less money. That’s what I was talking about TT.

  10. TT January 19, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    Bill –

    Its not clear that the Twins will need to be paying a middle reliever $5 million plus a year from now. And it is certainly not clear they will want to be paying that to Crain, Guerrier or Fuentes. The money is guaranteed regardless of how useful they are.

    Mike –

    The Twins traded Hardy away, in part, because they had a younger, better guy to take his place in Casilla. And on of the guys they got in return, Hoey, may turn out to the flame thrower the Twins have needed.

    Its also not clear the Twins could have signed Hardy for that amount. I think its important to remember that team record and attendance are factors in how much a player gets in arbitration. The Twins are going to be paying a premium for their success last year.

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