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Salary estimates for arbitration-eligible Royals players

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MLB Trade Rumors gives their latest estimates

Kansas City Royals v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Royals have just $36 million in guaranteed contracts for next year, but they could have several arbitration cases to deal with this winter.

Players are eligible for arbitration once they accrue at least three or more years of service time (plus “Super Two” players) but are not yet eligible for free agency. Clubs have to decide whether to “tender” the player a contract, and the two sides negotiate on a salary, and if they are unable to come to agreement by February, each side submits a figure to an independent arbitrator. The arbitrator will pick a side to win, and cannot split the difference. The Royals have had just two cases go all the way to a hearing under Dayton Moore.

Salaries are based largely on service time (a player in the third year of arbitration will receive substantially more than a player in his first year of arbitration) and comparable contracts. A player’s salary can be cut no more than 20 percent.

MLB Trade Rumors has their annual estimates on what arbitration-eligible players are likely to get in salary, based on a historical model. But the shortened season adds a new wrinkle, since player’s counting stats were shortened in a 60-game schedule. So MLB Trade Rumors offers three different numbers:

Method 1: Applies model directly with actual statistics from this 60-game season

Method 2: Extrapolates all counting stats to would-be 162-game totals. One home run becomes 2.7 home runs.

Method 3: For non-first-time eligibles, finds the raise they’d get in a 162 game season, then gives them 37% of that raise

Method 2 seems to be the most sensible option, but that will have to be worked out between owners, players, and arbitrators.

The Royals have eleven players eligible for arbitration this year. Franchy Cordero, Hunter Dozier, Jakob Junis, Brad Keller, Kevin McCarthy, Adalberto Mondesi, and Glenn Sparkman will all be arbitration-eligible for the first time. Jesse Hahn and Mike Montgomery are arbitration-eligible for the third time, and Maikel Franco and Jorge Soler are those rare players that get a fourth year of arbitration. Here is what MLB Trade Rumors estimates for their salaries.

Royals 2021 estimated arbitration salaries

Player Year of arbitration Method 1 Method 2 Method 3
Player Year of arbitration Method 1 Method 2 Method 3
Franchy Cordero First $900,000 $1,000,000 $900,000
Hunter Dozier First $1,900,000 $2,900,000 $1,900,000
Maikel Franco Fourth $4,500,000 $8,000,000 $5,000,000
Jesse Hahn Third $1,100,000 $1,700,000 $1,000,000
Jakob Junis First $1,500,000 $1,700,000 $1,500,000
Brad Keller First $2,400,000 $4,300,000 $2,400,000
Kevin McCarthy First $700,000 $800,000 $700,000
Adalberto Mondesi First $2,100,000 $3,800,000 $2,100,000
Mike Montgomery Third $3,100,000 $3,100,000 $3,100,000
Jorge Soler Fourth $7,400,000 $9,200,000 $8,000,000
Glenn Sparkman First $600,000 $600,000 $600,000

Cordeor, Dozier, Franco, Hahn, Junis, Keller, Mondesi and Soler should be locks to be tendered an offer, but Montgomery and Sparkman could be non-tender candidates. Montgomery was brought in to stabilize the rotation this year until the pitching prospects were ready, but he made just one start due to injury. With Singer and Bubic holding their own, there may be less of a need for Montgomery next year, particularly with a multi-million dollar salary. Sparkman has a 5.99 ERA in 179 big league innings and missed much of the season with a forearm strain.

If the Royals tender everyone except Montgomery and Sparkman at the salaries listed under “Method 2”, their projected 2021 payroll rises to about $70 million. The 2020 payroll was projected to be $89 million before the pandemic shortened the season.