Friday was the last day for arbitration-eligible players and teams to agree to contracts or to instead file for arbitration. Passan of ESPN has reported all 30 teams would take a file-and-trial approach for any players not coming to an agreement by Friday, rather than try to come to a compromise number between the two filed ones. The same thing was reported last year, yet a few deals were still made before arbitration hearings occurred. (As we all know, the arbitration process is: the team and player each file a desired contract dollar amount, then the hearing occurs, and the arbitrator picks one number or the other.). We’ll see.
Anyway, some of the more notable names who may go to arbitration include: Andrew Benintendi, Trevor Story, George Springer, Max Muncy, Joc Pederson, Josh Hader, and JT Realmuto.
On the other side of the coin, here are some of the notable signings with the agreed upon 2020 salary (all are one year deals): Mookie Betts ($27.4M), Kris Bryant ($18.6M), Francisco Lindor ($17.5M), Cody Bellinger ($11.5M), Cory Seager ($7.5M), Aaron Judge ($8.5M), James Paxton ($12.5M), Noah Syndergaard ($9.7M), and Marcus Semien ($13M).
Mookie Betts’ deal is a record for an arbitration-eligible player. Cody Bellinger’s is a record for a first-year eligible player.
Rumors have been swirling that Betts, Kris Bryant, and Francisco Lindor are all on the trading block…although Cleveland this week was reported to want to keep Lindor. Signing deals might indicate they will stay on the Red Sox, Cubs, and Indians, respectively. However, their one-year deals (even with Betts’ being a record) will scare off zero teams looking for a rental on the trade market. It also means we are likely to see some more really big contracts on the free agent market after next season if really big extensors aren’t forthcoming before the season.