Phillies Have Four Decisions Ahead of Non-Tender Deadline
Update (5:20 PM EST): The Phillies avoided arbitration with Andres Blanco and recently-acquired outfielder Peter Bourjos, agreeing on one-year contracts worth $1.45 million and $2 million, respectively, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that the other three players — Hellickson, Gomez, and Galvis — will be tendered contracts. We should hear specific dollar amounts shortly.
Teams must decide by midnight tonight whether or not to tender arbitration-eligible players a contract for the 2016 season. Players and their respective teams can then negotiate a contract. If they can’t reach an agreement, they will go before a salary arbitrator. The two sides will make cases for why the player should be paid X or Y, and a salary arbitrator will choose either X or Y, no in-between. Typically, teams prefer to avoid arbitration with their players if possible.
Back in September, I looked ahead at the Phillies’ potential non-tender candidates. Among the players covered in detail, the Phillies already cut ties with Domonic Brown, Justin De Fratus, and Adam Loewen, as expected. They have four arbitration-eligible players remaining: the recently-acquired Jeremy Hellickson, Andres Blanco, Jeanmar Gomez, and Freddy Galvis.
Hellickson is entering his third and final year of arbitration eligibility after earning $4.275 million in 2015. Though he put up a disappointing 4.62 ERA in 26 starts for the Diamondbacks, the right-hander won’t be receiving a salary cut. Players almost never see their pay reduced unless there are very serious extenuating circumstances (injury, personal conduct issues, etc.). The Phillies can expect Hellickson to negotiate a salary in the $5.5 million range. If the two sides can’t reach a quick agreement, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Phillies submit a figure closer to $4.5 million and Hellickson in excess of $6 million. Historically, arbitrators have favored teams, so if it gets to that point, the odds are that the Phillies would win their case.
Blanco is entering his third year of arbitration eligibility after earning $850,000 in 2015. Though he performed quite well this past season, batting .292/.360/.502 in 261 plate appearances while contributing at all four infield positions, Blanco isn’t in a position where he would be able to negotiate much more than $1.5 million. Expect the two sides to settle quickly.
Gomez is entering his second year of arbitration eligibility after earning $800,000 in 2015. A reformed starter, Gomez had the best year of his career pitching out of the Phillies’ bullpen, posting a 3.01 ERA over 74 2/3 innings, a heavy workload for a reliever nowadays. Gomez is likely to see his salary doubled near $1.5 million. Expect the two sides to settle quickly as well.
Galvis is the easiest contract-tender decision of the bunch, given the Phillies’ current need at the position while they wait for J.P. Crawford. He’s eligible for arbitration for the first time after earning $513,500 this past season. Galvis played solid defense and hit a lackluster .263/.302/.343 over 603 plate appearances. MLB Trade Rumors is projecting $1.9 million for Galvis in his first go-through in arbitration. I’ll take the slight under on that. If any of the four cases might go before an arbitrator, it would be this one, but it’s unlikely.