They were not, however, able to come to an agreement on 2011 salaries with Billy Butler, Robinson Tejeda and Kyle Davies. If there isn’t a deal reached with any of the three players by Monday, the team and player will exchange salary figures. Arbitration hearings start February first and run through the 18th. At any time before the arbitration figures are judged by a panel, the team and player can come to an agreement.
There’s a strong chance that the Royals can get all three to agree to a salary before it gets to that step. Davies made $1.8 million in 2010 and after a season where he finished with a 5.34 ERA and a 1.557 WHIP and had an ERA+ of 78, he’s not in much of a position to ask for more. Tejeda made $950,000 in 2010 and has pitched pretty well – well enough for a raise – but I don’t see how he’d win a hearing after missing chunks of the last two seasons with tendinitis issues. Those two seem like quick signings…
If there’s one of these three who’ll go to a hearing, it’s probably Butler. After two seasons where he’s achieved a .300 batting average and had a solid OPS, he’s definitely due a raise from his $470,000 2010 salary. He’s earned it. Before 2009, the Royals avoided an arbitration hearing with Zack Greinke by signing him to an extension. Perhaps they’ll take the same path with Butler. Regardless, Billy’s going to make a lot more money in 2011 than he did last year.
I expect all three to come to agreements over the weekend, with the caveat that Butler, who recently changed agents, may take his chances exchanging salary figures.
For comparison’s sake, Conor Jackson (who was still playing most of the time at first base) and the Diamondbacks agreed to a deal in his first year of arbitration eligibility after the 2008 season that got him a raise from $419,500 to $3.05 million. Jackson had hit .287/.367/.443/.810 to that point with 44 homers in 1744 plate appearances. Butler, through 2010, has a career line of .299/.359/.457/.816 with 55 homers in 2188 plate appearances.
In that same arbitration period, Mike Jacobs (newly acquired from the Marlins for Leo Nunez) and the Royals agreed to raise his salary from $395,000 to $3.275 million (and we know how well THAT turned out). Before 2008, Kevin Youkilis and the Red Sox agreed to bump his salary from $424,500 to $3 million after posting an OPS of .818 and OPS+ of 109 to that point.
All three were a couple years older than Butler at the time of their first arbitration season. All things considered, I’ll estimate Billy and the Royals land somewhere around $3.75 million for 2011 if they don’t end up negotiating a long-term extension.
Since becoming general manager in June 2006, Dayton Moore has signed every arbitration eligible player prior to a hearing becoming necessary. That suggests that 2011 will be no different.