It's that time again Rockies fans -- you know, the time for salary arbitration! Okay, maybe the excitement is just me. Dexter Fowler headlined the six Rockies who filed for salary arbitration yesterday. The others are Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Colvin, off-season acquisition Wilton Lopez, Josh Outman, and Jonathan Herrera. The fact that Herrera is on that list is immensely frustrating to me.
If you're interested in learning more about the mechanics of salary arbitration, I've got you covered with the first entry of Purple Row Academy: Salary Arbitration 101. If you aren't too interested, here's a Reader's Digest version:
Players between 2 years, 139 days and 5 years, 169 days of MLB service time (MLB DL time counts) are eligible to receive an arbitration hearing, wherein they argue for a higher salary than the MLB minimum ($480,000 in 2012) -- which is all their team is obligated to pay them in their pre-arbitration years.
Meanwhile, the team is stuck in the awkward situation of trying to depress their own players' value, which is why so many players who file for arbitration end up agreeing to terms with their teams before the arbitration hearing. If it does make it to a hearing though, the team and the player both submit a salary proposal for the upcoming year, and the arbitrator selects one or the other.
In the Rockies' case, the linked article above suggests that Colorado won't be signing any long-term deals with their arbitration hopefuls this off-season. In the case of Fowler and Chacin particularly, this could turn out to be an expensive decision if they produce well in 2013. But how much will the Arbitration 6 be paid in 2013?
The rule of thumb that I've heard is that Super 2 players (between 2 years, 139 days and under 3 years of service time) will get roughly 20% of their market value in arbitration -- so if a player would get a $10 million deal on the open market, they'd get $2 million in the arbitration process. For traditional 1st year arbitration players (3-4 years of service), the number is 40% of market value, with the number increasing to 60% and 80% over the next two years. Given the increasing inflation of the market value for a win, I'm not sure that holds true at this point though.
With that in mind as well as a wealth of historical data, Matt Swartz has created a projection system that projects the arbitration salaries of all the arb-eligible players for 2013. Here's a table that shows where he expects Colorado's arbitration eligibles to end up at:
|Player||2012 Salary||2013 Projected||Increase|
That increase of $5.5 million still leaves the Rockies' 2013 Opening Day Payroll (depending on if any free agents are signed between now and then) at $73.6 million, a 6% decrease from the 2012 ODP. That breakdown assumes that the post free-agent players on the roster (salary broken down here) and the arbitration players above are supplemented with 12 minimum salary type players entering 2013, and it assumes that a 27 player Opening Day roster (2 on the DL).
It's not necessarily a bad thing to decrease payroll in a down cycle -- but lets hope that this Rockies team will have the means to support a contending-level payroll when the situation warrants it.
Steph Bee over at fellow SBN blog MLB Daily Dish outlines the archetypes of pitchers that Dan O'Dowd is looking for to build rotation depth. She examines the potential fit of Jeff Karstens, Brandon Webb, Derek Lowe, Aaron Cook, and Jair Jurrjens -- ultimately recommending Lowe and Cook as options for Colorado.