No team and player were farther apart in the arbitration numbers they submitted than Steve Pearce and the Orioles were from one another. There was a $3.4 million gap between the Orioles' offer of $2 million and Pearce's request of $5.4 million. Not even that was enough to stop them from coming to an agreement before a hearing. Pearce and the O's settled at the exact midpoint, meaning Pearce will be getting a $3.7 million salary for the 2015 season, his final year before becoming a free agent.
That's a nice raise for a guy who made $700,000 last season, but then, he had a very nice season. Though he only made 383 plate appearances, Pearce still hit 21 home runs and batted .293/.373/.556 for the year. That's even more ridiculous than I remembered. With their lack of major outfield moves all offseason, the O's were banking on something similar from the 31-year-old Pearce for this season. If he hits well, even if it's in a part-time role, he'll be more than worth the salary.
Pearce was only projected to get a $2.2 million salary by MLBTR, so I guess sometimes it doesn't hurt to ask for the moon.
Previously, comments from both Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter have indicated that they would probably be taking at least one player down to the arbitration hearing. Pearce seemed like the most likely of these, given how far apart the two sides were. He has settled, though, leaving the O's with three players still to agree on contracts: Zach Britton, Alejandro De Aza, and Miguel Gonzalez.
The farthest apart of these three is Britton, who asked for $4.2 million with the team offering $3.2 million.
The agreement with Pearce puts the Orioles with a payroll of about $104 million. The players still to settle could add another $12 million on top of that, with pre-arbitration players each adding a modest few million more between the lot of them. The O's had a $108 million payroll last season, so basically just from arbitration increases, payroll is going up.