The only remaining Orioles player with a pending arbitration case has settled on a contract for 2014. Matt Wieters and the O's agreed on a $7.7 million contract for the season, avoiding a hearing that had been scheduled for February 12.
This is not a surprising development. The Orioles don't go to hearings very often and they don't lose very often when they get to a hearing. Both parties know this. The one-or-the-other process encourages settlement somewhere in the middle of the range between the two figures. In Wieters case, he filed at $8.75 million and the Orioles countered with $6.5 million.
In getting $7.7 million, he makes $75,000 more than the midpoint between the two numbers. It's good for the team and the player to avoid a hearing as well because the process can turn contentious. Nobody wants to sit there and hear about why he's worth less money.
With Wieters having settled, the O's have no remaining arbitration cases to settle, meaning their payroll is more or less set, unless they sign a free agent. Adding $7.7 million for Wieters onto the existing salaries leaves the O's at about $79.9 million, plus expenses for pre-arbitration players on the roster. Their projected Opening Day payroll, if nothing else changes, is $82.8 million.
Dan Duquette has indicated on more than one occasion that he thinks the payroll could go up to $100 million, but it seems he hasn't yet found the free agent who he wants to be the one to take the payroll to that level.