Orioles must address six arbitration-eligible players before tonight’s deadline


The Orioles reached another deadline tonight, this one a few weeks earlier than the norm. They must offer contracts to their six players eligible for arbitration or risk going to court.

This is a one-day exercise for some media. Report the agreements, maybe the terms. Update after update, or just a lump sum summary.

The perceived importance must be weighed against the reality that these players are under the control of the team. The Orioles just set the wages.

Whether a player signs for $1.1 million or $1.2 million means little if you’re not the one cutting the check. But I digress…

Outfielders Anthony Santander, Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays, shortstop Jorge Mateo and pitchers Dillon Tate and Austin Voth are getting raises under a system that pretty much insures them. The only way to avoid it is not to bid.

Santander avoided arbitration in 2021 by signing for $3.1 million after losing in a hearing the year before. He set multiple career highs, including 152 games played, 138 hits, 33 home runs, 89 RBI, 55 walks and a .318 on-base percentage, and became an important piece for the Orioles as they come out of their reconstruction and shift. into something more like a competitor.

This importance is exemplified by the fact that Santander leads the club in home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage (.455) and OPS (.773), and is tied for first in the OBP.

MLBTraderumors.com projected that Santander would be paid $7.5 million in 2023.

Mullins hasn’t reached his 30/30 status since last summer, but Trade Rumors predicted his salary would drop from $716,500 to $4.4 million in his first year of arbitration eligibility.

When the Orioles talk about increasing the payroll, those increases are part and parcel of the conversation.

Mullins batted .258/.318/.403 with 32 doubles, four triples, 16 home runs, 64 RBIs and 34 stolen bases in 156 games, and was a Golden Glove finalist among center defensemen.

Hays remained off the injured list, although he struggled with pain, particularly in his wrist. He appeared in 145 games and cut .250/.306/.413 with 35 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs and 60 RBIs.

There was a second-half dip, with Hays batting .270/.325/.454 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs in 85 games heading into the All-Star break and .220/.276/.349 with four home runs and 14 RBIs in 60 games after.

Hays earned $713,000 this year and, in his first year officiating, is expected to earn $3.1 million next season.

Mateo eventually found a team that would give him an extended opportunity and he led the American League with 35 steals. He was also sensational at shortstop and won a Fielding Bible Award, despite being denied consideration for a Gold Glove.

Also entering umpiring for the first time, Mateo earned $709,500 while batting .221/.267/.379 with 25 doubles, seven triples, 13 home runs and 50 RBIs in 150 games. He had an impressive streak of about two months, but fell back into bad habits and hit .196/.235/.304 in September/October.

An increase to 1.8 million dollars is launched by Trade Rumours.

Tate is also an umpire rookie after the Orioles signed him for $711,500. Trade Rumors pegs his salary at $1.5 million.

The right-hander led the club with 67 appearances and recorded a 3.05 ERA and .991 WHIP in 73 2/3 innings. He also recorded five saves as a complement.

The most interesting case involves pitcher Austin Voth, a waiver request on June 7 who had a 10.13 ERA and a 2.143 WHIP in 19 relief appearances with the Nationals, and a 3.04 ERA and a WHIP 1,229 in 22 games (17 starts) with the Orioles.

Voth is not assured of a rotational spot next year, with factors including prospect promotions and outside acquisitions. The Orioles are looking for a few veteran starters, including someone who can get into the top third. Voth could be pushed to the bullpen, where he would provide bulk value – if he is in the club.

Trade Rumors predicts Voth’s salary will drop from $875,000, which he agreed to in March to avoid arbitration, to $2 million.

The Orioles’ roster has been reduced by nine, including the one-year contract for outfielder Jake Cave that they announced Nov. 4.

Pre-arbitration players are also offered contracts.

The deadline for teams and players to submit salaries is January 13. Hearings are reportedly scheduled for March.

The Orioles are a file-and-go organization, but have been known to hold negotiations in some cases.

The Orioles avoided arbitration with Trey Mancini in April by signing him to a one-year contract that included a $10 million mutual option for 2023. He was traded to the Astros on August 1, and they declined the offer. ‘option.

Left-hander John Means also avoided a court hearing by agreeing to a two-year, $5.925 million contract on May 21, the same day wide receiver Adley Rutschman made his major league debut.

Court dates have been pushed back due to the lockout and the late start of spring training.

Means, who underwent Tommy John surgery and will not be ready to pitch on Opening Day, will still have one year of arbitration eligibility when his contract expires.

Santander and relievers Jorge López and Paul Fry reached a deal at last November’s deadline, and southpaw Tanner Scott also avoided a court hearing by signing in March for $1.05 million. None of the three pitchers remain in the organization.

* The Orioles have no contractual agreements with free agents, but they are active in talks.

According to sources, they have had conversations with representatives of several starting pitchers in the market and are arranging meetings between some players and EVP/GM Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde.

The club is also busy trying to sign veteran left-handed corner/first base/designated hitter bats to rotate and team up with Ryan Mountcastle. The market is considered deep this year.

* Rutschman ranked 12th in the American League Most Valuable Player voting. He received a fifth vote, an eighth, a ninth and three 10ths.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post voted Rutschman fifth.

Aaron Judge finished first with 28 of 30 first-place votes, with the other two going to Shohei Ohtani.

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