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Angels salary arbitration projections for 2021

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Bundy, Heaney, and Ohtani headline 12 Halos eligible for arbitration this winter

Los Angeles Angels v Seattle Mariners
Dylan Bundy and Max Stassi are two of 12 Angels eligible for salary arbitration this winter.
Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

The Major League Baseball offseason is nearly upon is, with the World Series set to be completed in less than two weeks. We’ll have an offseason roster overview soon, but for now we can talk a little bit about salary arbitration.

Players with at least three years but not yet six years of major league service time are eligible for arbitration, plus the top 22% of players in service time between two and three years.

In the simplest terms, players in arbitration typically earn more than the minimum salary, but are still constrained by not being free agents in an open market. Their salaries are heavily influenced by comparable players at the same positions and with similar service time.

A whopping 12 Angels are eligible for salary arbitration this winter, headlined by Dylan Bundy and Andrew Heaney, the team’s best two starting pitchers heading into their final year before free agency.

Matt Swartz at MLB Trade Rumors dove deep into salary arbitration waters, and projected 2021 salaries for each of these players for all 30 MLB teams, a Herculean effort made more challenging this year by a pandemic-shortened season. With so many unknowns as to how arbiters might rule after a season unlike any other in major league history, Swartz made three salary projections for each player. His explanation:

Method 1: Applies model directly with actual statistics from this 60-game season

Method 2: Extrapolates all counting stats to would-be 162-game totals. One home run becomes 2.7 home runs.

Method 3: For non-first-time eligibles, finds the raise they’d get in a 162 game season, then gives them 37% of that raise

Here are Swartz’s arbitration projections for the Angels, plus their full-season salary for 2020 (before everything got pro-rated with the 60-game campaign) and service times confirmed by the team.

Angels 2021 arbitration projections

Player Service time 2020 salary 2021 projection 1 2021 projection 2 2021 projection 3 Avg. 2021 projections
Player Service time 2020 salary 2021 projection 1 2021 projection 2 2021 projection 3 Avg. 2021 projections
Shohei Ohtani 3.000 $700,000 $2,100,000 $3,000,000 $2,100,000 $2,400,000
Max Stassi 4.049 $800,000 $1,800,000 $2,500,000 $1,400,000 $1,900,000
Andrew Heaney 5.150 $4,300,000 $5,000,000 $8,000,000 $5,700,000 $6,233,333
Dylan Bundy 5.026 $5,000,000 $5,900,000 $9,800,000 $6,800,000 $7,500,000
Felix Peña 3.079 $587,500 $800,000 $1,300,000 $800,000 $966,667
Hansel Robles 5.119 $3,850,000 $3,850,000 $4,100,000 $3,900,000 $3,950,000
Cam Bedrosian 5.153 $2,800,000 $2,800,000 $3,000,000 $2,900,000 $2,900,000
Noé Ramirez 3.139 $900,000 $1,100,000 $1,200,000 $1,000,000 $1,100,000
Mike Mayers 3.020 $573,000 $800,000 $1,500,000 $800,000 $1,033,333
Matt Andriese 5.071 $1,395,000 $1,800,000 $2,800,000 $1,900,000 $2,166,667
Keynan Middleton 3.089 $800,000 $1,000,000 $1,100,000 $900,000 $1,000,000
Justin Anderson 2.161 $577,000 $700,000 $700,000 $700,000 $700,000
Service time is in years and days. 4.049 means 4 years, 149 days Projection source: MLB Trade Rumors

Justin Anderson, who had Tommy John surgery in July, is the only “Super Two” Angel. With two years, 161 days of major league service time, he’s well within the top 22% of players with between 2-3 years of service. Other first-time arbitration-eligible Angels include Shohei Ohtani, who just reached three years of service time, as did relievers Felix Peña and Mike Mayers.

If every one of these players receives the average arbitration projection in 2021, that totals $31.85 million for 12 players.

But even though 12 Angels are eligible for salary arbitration doesn’t mean all will remain with the team. If the sides are far apart, and/or the team feels they can sign the player for less as a free agent than they might get through arbitration, players could be non-tendered, which means not offering them a contract, making the player(s) a free agent.

Hansel Robles, who posted career worsts in ERA (10.26) and FIP (5.89) in his 18 games, and was rarely used in any type of leverage situations in the last half of the season. An average salary projection of $3.95 million for 2021 seems easy to walk away from if Robles and the team can’t work out a deal beforehand.

The deadline to non-tender a player is 5 p.m. PT on Dec. 2. Last year, the Angels non-tendered catcher Kevan Smith on this date, for instance.

The date for players and teams to officially exchange salary figures this offseason is Friday, January 15. The last few days leading up to that are usually when deals get done, but if both sides can’t agree, arbitration hearings will be held in February.

The cases themselves are presented by team and player representation to a three-person panel, which each side arguing for their particular salary submission, the number submitted on Jan. 15. The arbitration panel then picks one side or the other, though the player and team can, and sometimes do, continue to negotiate to come to a compromise before a hearing decision is reached.

We’ll dig deeper into the specific individual cases later in the offseason.