Projected arbitration salaries released for Indians players
MLBTradeRumors.com released their projections today for players around Major League Baseball who are eligible for salary arbitration.
Over the years they have developed a pretty accurate model to project these salaries so fans can see some of the potential monetary commitments a team has during the Hot Stove season since a lot of these deals will not be finalized until January and February. Teams themselves have also increasingly used this model when determining cost for a player going into the next season.
The Indians outrighted catcher Chris Gimenez off the 40-man roster last week, so they now only have five players eligible for salary arbitration this offseason. Here are the players with their projected salaries for 2015:
Those five players total $8.7 million and their projected salaries have been added to the site payroll chart.
Looking at those figures individually, nothing really stands out as eye-popping or something the Indians can’t afford. Four of the players are expected to be key contributors to the team next year and should actually be well underpaid for what they produce on the field. The only one which may come as a surprise is Tomlin. Some may wonder why the Indians would even tender him a contract and pay him that when he is not likely to make the team out of spring training.
The reason is simple, and that is he is starting pitching depth the team needs and $1.7 million is rather inexpensive for a sixth or seventh starter who has some roster flexibility. The Indians hold two options on him and can have him open the season in Triple-A Columbus if they desire. Yes, as a player with three-plus years of service he would have to clear optional assignment waivers first, but players always clear that as they are revocable and there is sort of a gentleman’s agreement among teams not to claim those guys.
The Indians have done this before, and in fact, it was just done three years ago with Kevin Slowey. He had four years and 53 days of service (4.053) going into the 2012 season and was slated to make $2.75 million, yet the Indians optioned him to Triple-A to start the season and he spent the entire year there. So they have proven in the past that they are not worried about paying a player a few million to sit on standby in Triple-A.
Also, when you look at the updated payroll chart, it is important to consider that committed money listed for 2015 is $66.7 million, but that does not include about another $5-6 million for league minimum (non-salary arbitration eligible) players that will be on the 25-man man roster. The league minimum is $500K, and the Indians could have around 12 players on the roster next season at the league minimum, so that is $6 million. So, they have roughly $72 million in committed payroll for next season.
Last season their opening day payroll was $84.4 million and in 2013 it was $80.6 million. Payroll should stay about the same or even go up a few million even with the poor attendance figures from the past few seasons. The expectation is that they will be somewhere in the $82-87 million range in payroll next season.
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2.2 MM for Lonnie may be hard to swallow too, pushing the FO toward a trade stance for him. Of course, Aviles is going to make 3.5 MM for the same crap output....minus some home runs......so maybe 2.2 makes sense.