The Orioles added $18.2 million to their payroll on Friday while avoiding arbitration involving five key players for 2023.
According to multiple sources, the Orioles agreed to one-year contracts with Anthony Santander ($7.4 million plus incentives), Cedric Mullins ($4.1 million plus incentives), Austin Hays ($3.2 million plus incentives). ), Jorge Mateo ($2 million plus incentives), and Dillon Tate ($1.5 million plus incentives).
The only Oriole eligible for arbitration who has not agreed to the terms by Friday’s deadline is right-handed pitcher Austin Voth, who is now exchanging arbitration figures with the club and is preparing for a hearing before a three-person panel sometime in the spring will prepare training. The independent panel will hear arguments from both sides and select one of the numbers as Voth’s salary for 2023.
It’s possible that the Orioles and Voth will reach an agreement before the case comes to a hearing, but general manager Mike Elias favors a “file-and-trial” philosophy if an agreement isn’t reached by the filing deadline. He has made exceptions in the past and agreed after the filing deadline with Trey Mancini and John Means in 2022, although he went to a hearing with Santander in 2021. It’s the only time in Elias’ tenure that the Orioles have not settled for all of their advertised, arb-eligible players.
Friday’s increase, according to FanGraphs’ Roster Resource, takes the Orioles’ estimated 2023 payroll to about $65 million and their estimated luxury tax payroll to $85.2 million, a far cry from the $223 million -Dollars, which represent the first threshold for luxury taxes.
Here’s a look at the six players involved in Friday’s decisions:
The 28-year-old outfielder is the only one in that group to have earned more than $1 million from this year’s trial. This is his third chance at arbitration — he has Super Two status, or an extra year in 2021 — and his salary has increased from $3.15 million to $7.4 million. Given his 2022 production — his 33 homers led all switch hitters — and his relative youth, the surge was in line with predictions (MLB Trade Rumors estimated $7.5 million). Santander is now the fourth highest-paid Oriole on the active roster, behind freshmen James McCann, Kyle Gibson and Adam Frazier, although most of McCann’s salaries for 2023 and 2024 will be paid by the New York Mets. As part of his contract, Santander will receive a $150,000 bonus if he makes the 2023 All-Star Team or wins a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.
The most asked question on social media on Friday was why Mullins’ salary is so low for 2023, especially compared to Santander. Because that’s how arbitration works in Major League Baseball. The 28-year-old Mullins actually received the biggest increase of the five, but he made 2022 just above the minimum as his last season had less than three years of service. His raise from $716,500 to $4.1 million is particularly notable considering Mullins was demoted to Double A in 2019 and found his way back, becoming one of the better all-around center fielders in the game and the milestone reached to obtain an arbitration. The contract also includes $50,000 in awards for an All-Star performance, winning a Silver Slugger or a Gold Glove; Mullins was a 2022 Gold Glove finalist and a 2021 All-Star.
Hays’ salary, another player eligible for arbitration for the first time, rose from $713,000 to $3.2 million with Friday’s settlement. That’s $100,000 more than MLB Trade Rumors was estimating for the 27-year-old outfielder. Hays struggled through much of the second half in 2022 but he is entering this season as the club’s left starter. His contract also includes $50,000 bonuses for an All-Star appearance, a Gold Glove, or a Silver Slugger. The Orioles starting field will now gross $14.7 million combined; For comparison, New York’s Aaron Judge will make $40 million in 2023.
Perhaps the Orioles’ best waiver of Elias’s tenure, Mateo was issued by the San Diego Padres in August 2021. That winter, his first as an arbitrator, Mateo’s salary increased from $709,500 to $2 million. In his first full season as a starter, 27-year-old Mateo had a .646 OPS but led the American League with 35 stolen bases and won the Fielding Bible Award for MLB shortstops. He has a $50,000 bonus for an All-Star appearance, a Silver Slugger, or more likely a Gold Glove. He wasn’t a Gold Glove finalist in 2022, but probably should have been.
The last of the Orioles’ first-time arbitration-eligible players. Tate recorded a career-low 3.05 ERA and a career-high 67 games to become a key part of the Orioles’ resurgent bullpen in 2022. He was also named the club’s Roberto Clemente Award nominee for his work in the community. Tate, 28, doubled his salary from $711,500 to $1.5 million. He can also earn $50,000 in bonuses if he makes the All-Star Team or wins either the Mariano Rivera (AL) or Trevor Hoffman (NL) Reliever of the Year Award. Obviously, Tate would only qualify for the latter award if he were traded to the National League in 2023. Listing both is a formality in incentive-laden aid contracts.
It’s not surprising that he’s the only holdout here, simply because his 2022 hasn’t been ordinary, making an arbitration figure quite difficult. Voth, 30, had a disastrous 10.13 ERA in 19 appearances with the Washington Nationals when they waived him in June. The Orioles challenged Voth and he did well for the rest of the year, posting a 3.04 ERA in 22 games (17 starts). He has a career 4.86 ERA in split five seasons, so it’s possible his stint with the Orioles is an outlier in his career. But it happened. And that, along with his professional performance, will be considered during the arbitration process. This is Voth’s second year in arbitration and he earned $875,000 in 2022. MLB trade rumors predicted Voth would be paid $2 million this year. Voth will enter spring training and fight for a rotation spot and is expected to become a millionaire for the first time in his big league career.
(Top Photo by Anthony Santander: Scott Taetsch / USA Today)
https://theathletic.com/4089666/2023/01/13/orioles-arbitration-salaries/ Orioles Eligible Players: Who Consentd, Who Didn’t, and What It Means