MLB Trade Rumors has been outstanding over the last few years when it comes to accurately estimating arbitration numbers for the next season. But the 2020 Major League Baseball season being just 60 games seems like it could very well throw a wrench into the equation that’s been used in the past because the numbers simply don’t work due to the amount of playing time given to anyone. For that reason, Matt Swartz – the man who created the model they used – altered the projection raises to reflect different scenarios that could be used for arbitration.
The Cincinnati Reds have nine players that are due to hit arbitration this offseason and are due raises: Brian Goodwin, Curt Casali, Luis Castillo, Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen, Robert Stephenson, Jesse Winker, and Archie Bradley.
Swartz three methods look at how things would go for actual stats in just a 60-game schedule, a method that projects the 60-game schedule stats over a 162-game schedule, and then ” For non-first-time eligibles, finds the raise they’d get in a 162 game season, then gives them 37% of that raise”. It’s also worth noting that just because someone is arbitration eligible does not mean that they will get that raise. Teams can simply non-tender a player, which is essentially a fancy way of saying they are releasing a player, and that player will then become a free agent. Expect a lot of this to happen before the December 2nd deadline – though it seems highly unlikely that it will happen with any of the players for the Cincinnati Reds.
So, what are the projected numbers for the nine Cincinnati Reds players that are arbitration eligible? Let’s take a look:
|Player||Method 1||Method 2||Method 3|
The three methods are going to give different numbers. I’d personally be surprised if method 1 were the one we ultimately ended up with, but I’ve been wrong plenty of times before. The difference between Method 1 and Method 3 are pretty small, just $300,000 difference total. But the difference between those two and Method 2 is about $9,000,000. That’s a little bit of change that could, in theory, be the difference between signing a quality starting caliber player/pitcher and not being able to do so.
Essentially, depending on how Major League Baseball’s arbitration process plays out this offseason, there’s $20-30M in payroll due to these nine players. Joey Votto, Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas, Eugenio Suárez, Sonny Gray, Raisel Iglesias, Wade Miley, Shogo Akiyama, and Tucker Barnhart are all locked in with contracts totaling another $101,375,000 for the 2021 season.
If we assume no trades of any players mentioned thus far, that puts the Cincinnati Reds estimated payroll between $126,000,000 and $136,000,000 if they make no moves to add and free agents or trades to acquire players who have reached arbitration/have signed contracts that pay them more than league minimum.
With the 2020 season that involved no fans in the stands to buy tickets, merchandise, pay for parking at team owned/operated parking structures – revenues were down in the sport. How ownership groups across the baseball world will go about free agency, and even trades this offseason will be interesting to see. Some teams are certainly going to feel the pinch a bit differently than others. Those who get a larger portion of their revenues from multimedia deals than others may feel the pinch less than teams who have a higher portion of their revenue derived from ticket sales.
We are all just guessing where each team falls in the breakdown of that kind of information. But the circumstances of it all leaves everyone with a big “shrug” when it comes to how teams are expected to act this offseason. The Reds certainly should be looking to upgrade their offense where they can after it struggled to find any sort of consistency in 2020. How much money will be available to do so is a big question, and unfortunately for now, we don’t really have an answer as to what the kind of payroll that Cincinnati is going to set.