The Orioles settled one of their three pending arbitration cases on Tuesday evening, agreeing with Miguel Gonzalez on a $3,275,000 contract for the 2015 season. That leaves only Zach Britton and Alejandro De Aza still left to go.
As tends to happen most of the time, the O's and Gonzalez met near the middle between the two numbers they had submitted. Gonzalez requested a $3.9 million salary for the season while the O's offered $2.5 million. The gap of $1.4 million sounds like a lot, but if both sides submit numbers with the expectation of meeting close to halfway, it's not really that much. In this case, Gonzalez got a little bit more than the midpoint between the two sides, so good for him for doing so.
This is Gonzalez's first year of arbitration eligibility. He was in line for a nice raise over close to the major league minimum regardless. Settling is good for the team and the player as an arbitration hearing ends up as a complete win for one side. It also amounts to a player sitting around listening to why the team thinks he sucks. That is not an ideal situation.
Over his three seasons in the big leagues, Gonzalez has accumulated a 3.45 ERA over 435.2 innings pitched. He's not eligible for free agency until after the 2017 season, so there will be more arbitration raises in his near future.
With his contract settled, the O's have a current payroll for 2015 of about $109.4 million. That does not count the salaries of either Britton or De Aza, who could add as much as $10 million, or of pre-arbitration players like Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop.
The team is $2 million apart from Britton, who requested $4.2 million with the team submitting $2.2 million. They're only $650,000 apart from De Aza, who submitted a $5.65 million number while the O's countered at $5 million. However, De Aza is seen as the more likely of the two to go down to a hearing.
Their estimated payroll is nearly $14 million more than what they paid out last season. With so many arbitration increases, the Orioles didn't even have to make any major acquisitions to have a hefty increase in the payroll.