Baltimore Orioles: Projected Arbitration-Eligible Salaries for 2016


Sep 29, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Rain falls as the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles is postponed at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The great go-to site for Baltimore Orioles and MLB rumors and offseason trading and free agent information is Much of the specific information there about the Orioles is gleaned from the primary sources we all read, such as the Baltimore Sun, MASN, the team’s web page, etc.  But news is also added from baseball writers (and their inside sources) around the country, and the site is a repository of what is being rumored to be talked about by other teams.

MLB Trade Rumors and writer Matt Swartz has released their annual projection as to what will be player by player and team by team arbitration salaries for 2016. It is not mere personal boasting when they say that their formula is an accurate model. Agencies and teams use it as well! And last year, their projections were remarkably accurate about the very large list of Orioles arbitration-eligible players. I believe they were less than one percent off on the total when it was all said and done.

This year, the Orioles have a total of nine players in this category.

So here is a chart of MLB Trade Rumors’ projections. In speaking of service time, it is “years.days” … so for Britton, read it as three years and 158 days. According to the MLB collective bargaining agreement, a full year of service is 172 days.

NameService TimeSalary Projected
Zach Britton3.158$6.9 Million
Chris Tillman4.113$6.2 Million
Manny Machado3.056$5.9 Million
Miguel Gonzalez4.095$4.9 Million
Brian Matusz5.156$3.4 Million
Ryan Flaherty4.000$1.5 Million
Brad Brach3.063$1.1 Million
Nolan Reimold5.113$900,000
Paul Janish4.156$600,000

This totals to $31.4 million. Yes, that’s a big number, but it was something like $60 million last year.

This total, along with ongoing salaries already on the books, are the two big categories of costs that determine about how much headroom remains for free agent spending in the budget.

I will be writing detailed articles about each Orioles player in the weeks and months ahead, but here is a quick opinion on each of these nine players …

Zach Britton – Obviously he is among the best in the business and deserves this sort of salary. Since the number is so big, I have personally concluded that the O’s need to get more innings out of him by making him a starter, pending the re-sign of Darren O’Day.

Chris Tillman – He is not worth this based upon 2015 alone, but the previous year has launched him to this level. The O’s might hope to get away a bit cheaper on this one.

Manny Machado – He is a steal, even at this number. What a season!

Miguel Gonzalez – This is a pretty big number, given the fade in effectiveness. I can’t imagine the O’s non-tendering him, but maybe he could be a trade possibility?

Brian Matusz – This too is a pretty big number for a lefty specialist and set-up reliever. Yet at the same time, the Orioles are not overrun with bullpen lefties and they may need to keep him. He will likely be the focus of some regular trade rumors.

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Ryan Flaherty – I may be the last person to be a fan; but honestly, he needed a hit on the final day to avoid going under .200.  Yes, he is a plus defender who can play all over the field. But he is an offensive liability. Let it go; let it go.

Brad Brach – This is a great deal for what he brings to the team.

Nolan Reimold – This is the same story as Brach. He played well at the end. I would be good with him as the regular leftfielder.

Paul Janish – This is just barely over the league minimum. He will never be a great hitter but is a top-tiered defender. I would keep him and let Flaherty go.

As time goes by, we’ll take these numbers and add them in with existing contracts and budget discussions.

Next: Looking for pitching in O's offseason

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