Orioles sign five of seven arb-eligible players: Machado, Britton, Brach, Beckham and Joseph - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Orioles sign five of seven arb-eligible players: Machado, Britton, Brach, Beckham and Joseph

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Although the 1 p.m. arbitration-filing deadline passed with no news, the Orioles took care of a lot of business Friday afternoon, agreeing to contracts with five of their seven arbitration-eligible players: Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Brad Brach and Caleb Joseph and Tim Beckham.

Britton was the first to sign, agreeing to a one-year $12 million deal, up from $11.4 million in an injury shortened 2017.

Reliever Brad Brach, who made $3.05 million in 2017 when he took over as closer for an injured Britton and saved 18 games for the Orioles, agreed to a $5.165 million deal, that could increase to $5.265 million with incentives.

Then third baseman Manny Machado, who made $11.5 million in 2017, agreed to a $16 million deal that also includes incentives.

Catcher Caleb Joseph received a raise from $700,000 to $1.25 million and shortstop Tim Beckham received a hefty salary from $885,000 last year (with the Tampa Bay Rays) to $3.35 million for 2018.

That left the Orioles with two arbitration-eligible players Friday afternoon: pitcher Kevin Gausman and second baseman Jonathan Schoop. Gausman and Schoop have the same representation, The Legacy Agency.

Gausman filed at $6.225 million for 2018 while the Orioles countered with $5.3 million. Schoop filed at $9 million and the Orioles filed at $7.5 million.

This is the second consecutive year that Gausman and the Orioles didn’t agree on a contract before the filing date, but they ultimately decided on a $3.45 million deal before a hearing in 2017. Schoop agreed last year to a $3.475 million contract, but after a Most Valuable Oriole season in 2017 the second baseman will more than double his salary.

If Gausman and Schoop do not settle, they will appear before an arbitration panel at some point in February with the panel ultimately choosing the player’s salary figure or the team’s, which will be binding for 2018.

The Orioles had two hearings last year, winning one against Joseph and losing to Brach – the first time the club had lost an arbitration hearing since Ben McDonald in 1995.

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Machado was obviously the most interesting case heading into Friday, considering he has been the subject of trade rumors in his last season before free agency. The $16 million salary is actually less than what Mlbtraderumors.com predicted ($17.3 million) and it doesn’t seem out of line for a 25-year-old with his pedigree. So that salary should not be a hindrance if the Orioles do trade Machado this year.

Britton’s was another case worth watching because he’ll be out until at least June, and maybe later, with a right Achilles injury which he tore in late December while running sprints.

Technically, the Orioles could have offered up to a 20 percent cut in Britton’s salary, but the 30-year-old pitcher and his agent, Scott Boras, certainly would have had a strong case before an arbitration panel that Britton didn’t deserve a paycut after an effective — albeit truncated — 2017.

Because they tendered Britton a contract before the injury, and because the injury occurred while in the capacity of preparing for the season, the belief is the Orioles would have to pay most, if not all, of his salary even if they cut him before the season. Otherwise they might have to deal with a potentially losable grievance – and still have to pay the salary. So, it made sense to agree to a deal now and hope he can return at his previous performance level in June.

MLB.com first reported the Machado agreement. USA Today and FanRag Sports first had the Schoop and Gausman filings, respectively.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. boss61

    January 13, 2018 at 5:40 am

    Good morning Dan and thanks as always for your timely and astute coverage.

    Your last sentence begs a question I have long wondered about. In recent years, articles and blogs seem to unfailingly give credit to the origin of a breaking news story (USA Today and FanRag Sports in your article). Is this an industry-wide common courtesy, something required by or agreed upon by BBWAA, or just a broadly-shared gentleman’s agreement?

    I don’t seem to notice it as much when reading other kinds of online news articles and blogs, but for baseball columns, and only of late, it seems always there. Thanks.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 13, 2018 at 12:11 pm

      Solid question. It’s purely professional courtesy. Baseball writers work really hard at their crafts and when they first report information that affects what I do I like to give credit. I do that on Twitter and my blogs. Some only do it on Twitter. Some don’t at all. Some are embarrassed their competitors got information before them and only like to give credit nationally. To each their own. It’s not something we have to do. No right answer. At times, it may come across as silly. There is no harm in it to me. I was proud that I had four of these signings first and hat-tipped the others who broke other info regarding the Orioles. But at the end of the day none of it matters. Just as long as we get you the information accurately. Thanks for asking.

  2. Schwarzstop

    January 13, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Dan, What are your thoughts on Manny at $16 mil at age 25 and Josh Donaldson, 23 mil at age 32! And both will be free agents at the end of 2018! Donaldson, theoretically, is on the decline while Manny has not yet reached his prime. Will one third baseman’s free agency affect the other?

    • Dan Connolly

      January 13, 2018 at 12:14 pm

      I do think the fact both are superstar third baseman and are free agents at the same time will have an effect on their fee agencies. More competition. But ultimately they’ll both get paid handsomely. And Machado more handsomely because, as you point out, his age.

  3. mlbbirdfan

    January 13, 2018 at 9:45 am

    A modest albeit expensive proposal:

    Offer Manny $300 million for 10 seasons, payable in equal shares over 12 years.

    Offer Schoop $210 million for 10 seasons, payable in equal shares over 14 years.

    That’s $40 million annually. Payroll will still be well below the luxury tax.

    And, ask Davis to accept his base salary of $17 million per year for next five seasons; while deferring $30 million to be payable over the following 10 years.

    Then sign a premiere starting pitcher!!

    • Dan Connolly

      January 13, 2018 at 12:15 pm

      Davis is already getting deferred money. No way he restructures. That’s so rarely done in baseball. No real incentive. Contracts are guaranteed.

  4. Birdman

    January 13, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Instead of taking what would be the single most important move for the future of the franchise, signing Schoop to a long-term extension, the Orioles are haggling with him over $1.5 million ($9 million vs. $7.5 million). Nothing better illustrates the short sighted ownership of PA.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 13, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      That’s the process. Every year I hear this argument and every year it doesn’t matter. It’s part of the business. Players don’t like it. But it goes away.

  5. GSISDANNO

    January 13, 2018 at 10:17 am

    What a country! Britton gets a raise when we don’t know if he will ever pitch again.
    On another topic, with the lack of free agents being signed, it is possible the owners are colluding again to keep salaries down? Hard to believe there is so little action in that area.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 13, 2018 at 12:18 pm

      Don’t know if he’ll ever pitch again? Come on, Danno. It’s his Achilles not his shoulder. He’s only 30. It sucks for him and the Orioles but no one is getting out the coffin nails on his career. As for colluding, certainly there are whispers. But soon someone’s wallet will open and the rumors will dissipate some.

  6. willmiranda

    January 13, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Just two thoughts. The relatively reasonable price for Machaco makes him more tradable. The prodigal raise for Beckham seems a bit much for one month’s offensive work.It’s not a huge number, but well more than double Joseph’s. Makes the Rays look good if they saw this price coming. Personally, I hope his performance, offensively and defensively, is a multiple of last year’s, but right now I wonder.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 13, 2018 at 5:28 pm

      Again, that’s the arbitration process. It’s all about comps.

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