The Orioles have never been able to come to a long-term contract extension with Manny Machado, but they have at least managed to agree on his 2018 salary without a potentially contentious arbitration hearing. The O’s and Machado settled on a 2018 deal after Friday afternoon’s deadline for exchanging salary figures, with Machado set to make $16 million for the upcoming season.
Four other Orioles reached deals on Friday, spurred to action by the presence of that deadline. Injured closer Zach Britton settled for a $12 million salary, while substitute closer Brad Brach and the O’s settled on a salary of $5.165 million. They also reached an agreement with Caleb Joseph on a $1.25 million contract for the 2018 season, and agreed with Tim Beckham on a $3.35 million salary for the year.
It’s not ideal to be on the hook for $12 million to Britton when he might not pitch until July, but the timing of the injury, coming after the O’s had already tendered him a 2018 contract, meant that the O’s were just plain out of luck. There’s not much they can do except hope he returns as soon as possible and does well when he returns.
That leaves two more players still to reach 2018 contracts. Those players are Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman. Based on the MLB Trade Rumors arbitration projections, that could amount to about $16 million of the payroll for those two players.
Last year, the Orioles were said to be becoming a “file and trial” team. That’s used to refer to teams who maintain a policy that, once they reach today’s stage of the two sides filing numbers, they will not negotiate any further and they will go towards an arbitration hearing.
This did not last for very long as the Orioles settled with Gausman even after filing numbers with him last year. They did still go to an arbitration hearing with Joseph and Brach. It remains to be seen whether the O’s will try to make this claim again this season, though they’ve already undermined it, based on reports that they settled with Machado after exchanging arbitration figures with him.
Compared to the projections, the Orioles have come in at about $1.5 million lower than had been anticipated for the five players with whom they settled on contracts today. I’m sure that the Orioles will put that money aside to make a little bit sweeter of an offer to a quality free agent pitcher. That was sarcasm just there. I don’t think the Orioles will do any such thing - and even if they did, it’s not like $1.5 million makes much of a difference.
If the O’s have a hearing with either Gausman or Schoop, that will happen some time next month. It’s possible to settle up until walking into the room for the hearing. In the past, the Orioles have tended to settle and they have tended to win hearings when they don’t.
For Gausman, FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported that the Orioles offered a $5.3 million salary for 2018 while Gausman’s camp countered at $6.225 million. That’s interesting because even Gausman’s own ask was lower than his MLBTR projection of $6.8 million. This happened last year as well. The two sides are less than a million bucks apart.
Schoop asked for $9 million while the Orioles countered at $7.5 million, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. This is also a case of the player asking for less than the MLBTR projection, with Schoop’s ask lower than the $9.1 million estimate. If the two sides settle at the midpoint, that would be an $8.25 million salary for Schoop this year.