Today, which is Friday, marked the deadline for MLB teams and arbitration-eligible players to come together for a secret handshake, a hot cup of joe, and to reach an agreement on a salary for the 2019 season. Failure to do so by 1 PM ET today would mean that each player’s case would land in front of an arbiter, who would then decide whether the player’s demands or the team’s demands for their 2019 salary request was most correct, and every single thing about that just sounds awkward in an employer/employee relationship.
So, it’s always good to see player and team able to come to terms without needing that process to happen. For the Cincinnati Reds, though, only four of their eight arb-eligible players agreed to deals before the deadline: 2B Scooter Gennett, RP Michael Lorenzen, SS Jose Peraza, and C Curt Casali. The Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale, Jr. had the details on each of Gennett, Peraza and Lorenzen today, whereas Casali settled for $950,000 late last night.
Scooter Gennett agreed to a $9.775M deal with #Reds to avoid arbitration.— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) January 11, 2019
Jose Peraza avoids arbitration, agrees to a $2.775M contract for next season, per source. #Reds— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) January 11, 2019
Source: Michael Lorenzen agreed to a $1.95M contract with #Reds to avoid arbitration.— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) January 11, 2019
Gennett, who’ll turn 29 in May, is in his final year of arbitration (and team control). Lorenzen, who just turned 27, is in his second trip through arbitration, but as a Super Two player will still have rounds left for 2020 and 2021, barring an extension. Peraza, 25 in April, is in his first trip through the arbitration process and is also a Super Two qualifier, meaning he’ll have three trips through arbitration left after this year. Casali, 30, also qualified for arbitration as a Super Two, and will have three trips through this thoroughly complicated process after this season.
So far, it appears the Reds have been able to negotiate deals below the estimates put forth by MLB Trade Rumors earlier in the offseason. While Lorenzen’s $1.95 million figure came in just a hair north of his projected 2019 salary, each of Peraza, Casali, and Gennett came in well short of their estimates, with the total of the three’s 2019 salaries some $2.2 million less than the initial estimates. In theory, that’s going to free up a bit more coin for the Reds to get the pitching, if you’re of the sort who believes what the ownership group has been feeding to the headlines of late.
Each of Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, and Tanner Roark are entering their final years of arbitration eligibility, too, and with each estimated by MLBTR to earn between $9-11.3 million in 2019, the Reds will now have a trio of cases that will be decided by an arbiter later this winter. Similarly, Anthony DeSclafani’s case remains undecided, as the oft-injured RHP will see his second trip through the arbitration process sorted out by an arbiter, too. There is still a chance for the team and these players to come to an agreement for 2019 and/or longer between now and then, but given that the Reds have adopted a ‘file and trial’ system in recent years - meaning they use today’s deadline as the one for negotiations and let their salary offer from today be their standing offer with no further negotiation until the arbitration decision - I’d guess we likely won’t see any 1-year agreements reached between now and then. A 10-year Puig monster extension, though...
** UPDATE **
It seems that the Reds and Anthony DeSclafani did manage to reach an agreement just prior to the 1 PM ET deadline, as The Athletic’s Robert Murray relayed.
#Reds, Anthony DeSclafani settle at $2,125,000, avoiding arbitration, source tells The Athletic.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) January 11, 2019
That came in just a hair above MLBTR’s $2.1 million estimate for his second trip through the arbitration process.
Later, news broke that both Tanner Roark ($10 million) and Yasiel Puig ($9.7 million) also avoided arbitration and settled on 1-year deals for the 2019 season. That leaves pitcher Alex Wood as the team’s lone player who has yet to have their arbitration salary settled.