Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Two More Arbitration Deals

Yesterday we discussed arbitration deals recently handed out to Alexi Casilla, Alex Gordon, Luke Hochevar, and Asdrubal Cabrera. But they aren't the only ones to have locked in new deals. The Tigers came to terms yesterday with Armando Galarraga and the the Royals brought back Robinson Tejada.

- I spent some time discussing Galarraga's future with the Tigers in the wake of the recent signing of Brad Penny. I had projected Galarraga at 1.5m in my most recent Tigers Payroll Estimate, so to see him sign for 2.3m has to be considered a win for him and his agent. It's a tad surprising given the signing of Penny that GM Dave Dombrowski wasn't able to utilize that leverage a bit better in negotiations.

Galarraga contributed 144 innings for the Tigers in 2010 with a 4.49 ERA that bested his FIP projections by about half a run. He's thrown at least 143 innings in each of the past three seasons but with the presence of Penny likely pushing him out of the rotation at the beginning of the year, there's a good chance he wont meet that mark in 2011.

- Tejada will be entering his seventh season in the league and in this, his final arbitration season is set to earn 1.55m, essentially identical to the 1.5m I had him projected for in the most recent Royals Payroll Estimate.

He's been the picture of consistency the last two seasons with the Royals, posting identical 3.54 ERAs and FIP marks of 3.59 and 3.60 respectively, and they're certainly hoping for more of the same. Tejada has the ability to miss bats, averaging almost exactly a strikeout per inning the last two years but can also get himself into trouble with walks with a career 5.03 walk rate. It should be noted however that he posted his best walk rate of his career in 2010 with a 3.84 mark. Unfortunately, the fly-ball prone pitcher was at his worst in that department, getting inducing ground balls on just 27.8% of balls in play.

As long as Tejada can keep missing bats at a high rate and either limit his walks or keep the ball in the yard, neither of which are a sure thing given his career track record, he'll be successful. But despite the strength of his past two seasons, there is always the possibility those two areas of concern could pair up and he could struggle as a result. If he can prevent that however, he'll once again be a useful option for the Royals in the 7th and 8th innings.

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