Average raise slows for players in arbitration

With Gio Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw and Pablo Sandoval getting

the steepest increases, the overall rise of salaries for players in

arbitration slowed to its lowest level since 2007.

The 142 players who filed for arbitration last month averaged an

89 percent increase, according to a study of agreements by The

Associated Press. That was down from an average jump of 123 percent

last year and was the lowest increase since a 73 percent rise in

1996.

Gonzalez, acquired by Washington in a trade with the Oakland

Athletics, received a 20-fold increase from $420,000 to an average

of $8.4 million in a $42 million, five-year contract with the

Nationals.

Kershaw, the NL Cy Young Award winner, got a 19-fold increase

from $500,000 to an average of $9.5 million as part of a $19

million, two-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Sandoval received the highest percentage raise among position

players. After earning $500,000 last year for the San Francisco

Giants, the third baseman agreed to a $17.15 million, three-year

contract that averages $5.7 million, an 11-fold hike.

Pitcher Andrew Bailey, traded from Oakland to the Boston Red

Sox, received the highest percentage raise among players agreeing

to one-year contracts, an eight-fold increase from $465,000 to $3.9

million.

Just 11 players received multiyear contracts, down from 14 last

year and the fewest since nine in 2004.

The only players whose salaries went down were Milwaukee

reliever Francisco Rodriguez, who went from an average of $12.7

million in a three-year contract to $8 million; and Chicago Cubs

third baseman Ian Stewart, who dropped $50,000 to $2,237,500.

The average of this year’s group rose from $1.95 million to $3.7

million, while the average for the 119 players in arbitration last

winter increased from $1.68 million to $3.76 million. The total of

players in arbitration this year were the most since 150 in

1992.

For multiyear contracts, figures include average annual values.

For 2011, earned bonuses were included.

About a half-dozen more players will become eligible for

arbitration next year, when eligibility increases slightly for

players with two to three years of major league service, from the

top 17 percent by service time to the top 22 percent. They join

unsigned players with at least three, but less than six years of

service.

Pittsburgh defeated Garrett Jones in the final decision

Thursday, and the outfielder will receive the team’s offer of $2.25

million rather than his request for $2.5 million.

Teams finished with a 5-2 advantage in arbitration decisions

this year, their 14th winning record in 16 years. The seven

hearings were more than double the total last year, when players

won two of three cases.

Both players who won this year were on the Miami Marlins:

pitcher Anibal Sanchez and infielder-outfielder Emilio

Bonifacio.

In addition to Jones, four pitchers lost in arbitration:

Washington’s John Lannan, Tampa Bay’s Jeff Niemann, Milwaukee’s

Jose Veras and Baltimore’s Brad Bergesen.

Overall, owners lead 291-214 since arbitration began in

1974.

Pirates third baseman Casey McGehee, who had been the last

player scheduled for a hearing, agreed to a one-year deal for

$2,537,500 – the midpoint between his request for $2,725,000 and

the team’s $2.35 million offer.