Ty France, Paul Sewald, Tom Murphy avoid arbitration with Mariners
France ($4.1 million), Sewald ($4.1 million) and Murphy ($1.625 million) agreed to terms, while the other three are still outstanding. However, each is under club control and must agree to pre-season terms.
Here’s a primer for the day:
What is wage arbitration?
Players with three or more years of MLB service time, but less than six (when eligible for free agency) can negotiate their salaries for the upcoming season, which are based primarily on comparable players signed in the following seasons. last. Player and club will each submit a salary figure no later than Friday at 10:00 a.m. PT.
If the player and club cannot agree on terms, then a hearing is scheduled in February, when a panel of arbitrators, who after hearing arguments from both sides, choose either the player’s salary figure or the club’s.
Players and clubs can continue to negotiate wages between Friday and a possible hearing on a one- or multi-year deal, which is usually how these negotiations are resolved.
• C Tom Murphy (3rd year, $1.625M): He got off to a great start, slashing .303/.439/.455 (.894 OPS) in 14 games before suffering a left shoulder injury in end of the season. As such, he received only a marginal increase from the $1.575 million he earned in 2022.
• 1B Ty France (first year, $4.1 million): A first-time All-Star — and for much of the year, Seattle’s most consistent hitter — France received a big raise from the minimum league close to the $734,500 he earned last season. He is in control of the club until 2025 and will earn a lot more in the next two years if he stays on this trajectory.
• E Teoscar Hernández (third year, projected $15 million): Seattle’s biggest acquisition this offseason is slated for an increase from the $10.65 million he earned last year, when he crushed 25 home runs in Toronto and had value 2.4 wins above replacement, per FanGraphs. He’ll likely become the second-highest-paid Mariner in 2023 behind Robbie Ray ($21 million), per Cot’s, as the contract extensions of Luis Castillo and Julio Rodríguez don’t become more expensive until later.
• UTIL Dylan Moore (second year, projected $2.25 million): Moore is slated for a raise from the $1.35 million he earned after another productive year as the club’s utility man. He was worth 2.1 WAR and produced a 122 wRC+ (league average is 100).
• RHP Diego Castillo (second year, $3.5 million projected): Castillo had another strong season with a 3.64 ERA, 102 ERA+ and 53 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings. And given that he’s in his second year of eligibility, he’s in line to earn a raise from the $2.15 million he earned last year.
• RHP Paul Sewald (2nd year, $4.1M): For the second year in a row, Sewald was one of the AL’s best shortstops, despite his strikeout rate dropping (from a 39.4% rate to 29.8% ). It’s a big payday for a player who almost called it quits before his resurgence in Seattle.
How often do cases reach arbitration?
It hasn’t happened since general manager Jerry Dipoto took over after the 2015 season. And only twice since 2000 has Seattle gone to a hearing — in ’15, when reliever Tom Wilhelmsen lost his case seeking 2.2 million dollars and the panel chose the team’s $1.4 million bid; and in ’03, when rookie catcher Freddy Garcia won his case for $6.875 million over the team’s $5.9 million bid. The Mariners have had 20 cases go to a hearing in the franchise’s 43-year history, but 17 of those were from 1980-93.
How will arbitration negotiations affect the rest of the Mariners’ season?
You don’t have to at all. Even if they go to court, arbitration situations give clubs enough payroll clarity in advance because those players are expected to earn a certain figure based on performance and service time. The better and more experienced the player, the higher the salary. That said, the Mariners were already operating on an Opening Day payroll of about $137 million, per Cot’s, when projecting the potential earnings of their arbitration players.