Heading into the offseason, it was rumored that the Red Sox’ eight year streak without going to arbitration with a player may be jeopardy. There were a few curious cases across the board such as that of Andrew Bailey, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Joel Hanrahan. However, the Red Sox have made those reporters eat their words as they locked up seven of eight arbitration-eligible players in a flurry of action yesterday.
First, the expensive cases. The Red Sox managed to pay Ellsbury virtually nothing more than he made in 2012 after a disappointing and injury-riddled season, batting .271/.313/.370– he will earn $9 million in 2013. Joel Hanrahan, acquired in an offseason trade with the Pirates, earned around his predicted salary of $7 million (he will earn $7.04 million) after a season which saw him save 36 games with a 2.72 ERA in Pittsburgh.
Other than Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, whose case Steve Peterson covered here, the Red Sox just locked up a number of relief pitchers. Alfredo Aceves ($2.65 million), Andrew Bailey ($4.1 million), Daniel Bard ($1.8625 million), Andrew Miller ($1.475 million), and Franklin Morales ($1.4875 million) all signed yesterday. This leaves Craig Breslow as the only remaining arbitration-eligible player. However, Breslow’s desired sum sits just $50,000 away from the Red Sox’ desired number, so it’s all but certain that he will sign in the next few days.
It’s great that the Red Sox have made a concerted effort to not go to arbitration with any players since the start of the Henry-Werner-Lucchino era. Arbitration has a tendency to create animosity between organizations and their players. Imagine how you’d feel if your company took you to court just to demand you earn a lower salary based on your performance. Breslow will likely sign soon to continue the streak another year.