Red Sox News: Potential arbitration figures for the 2021 season

A look at potential Red Sox arbitration numbers for 2021

Arbitration has become a significant driver in payroll expansion with the details – at least for me – rather confusing at times. Further details can be found here. The Red Sox now have several players in the arbitration process unless the Red Sox choose to just send them packing. MLBTR has created its own possible arbitration scenario using three methods. Using that I can now examine the Red Sox list.

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 – MLBTR

The Red Sox payroll is at $127 MM for 2021 without arbitration figures. Also, both sides may agree before the issue reaches arbitration such as the case with Andrew Benintendi who is signed for 2021. The Red Sox have a history of avoiding arbitration. Spotrac is another baseball site focusing on contracts and they have taken a leap of fiscal faith and have included their own arbitration figures.

Matt Barnes – $3.7M / $5.7M / $4.1M. Closers get money but is it deserved with Barnes? Barnes had nine saves but also blew four save opportunities. He’s prone to free passes (5.5 BB/9) and can rack up the K’s (12.1 K/9). In addition, Barnes can give up the long ball with four in 23 innings pitched.

The Red Sox will go to arbitration with Barnes and expect the final figure of settlement to be somewhere between model one and model two. Barnes should add $4.6 MM to the payroll.

Ryan Brasier – $1.0M / $1.6M / $1.0M. Expect Brasier to receive around $1.3 M and that is worth it considering the pitching market and Brasier having a reasonably successful 2020 (1-0, 3.96, 4.0 BB/9, 10.8 K/9). Brasier can provide multiple innings and served as an opener in one game – something he may be utilized more of in 2021. With a 0.5 bWAR, it is cheap money by baseball standards.

Austin Brice – $700K / $900K / $700K. Brice will probably add $800,000 to the payroll and it is all a risk/reward situation. Brice has failed in Miami (twice) and in Cincinnati. The issue with Brice is not difficult to ferret out – 5.9 BB/9. Brice’s 5.95 ERA is scary, but that is inflated by a five earned run disaster against Tampa in just 0.2 innings.

Rafael Devers – $3.4M / $6.3M / $3.4M. Devers cranked it up after a slow start and tied for the team lead in home runs (11) and led in RBI with 43. Devers finished at .263 and that is a significant drop from 2019. The Red Sox have expressed openness is seeking a longer-term deal with Devers and it may happen. Spotrac has Devers down for $4.8 MM.

Zack Godley – $800K/$1.1M/$800K. Godley was awful in 2020 (0-4, 8.16), but in 2018 won 15 games for Arizona. Another risk/reward situation where the Red Sox can save a million by just letting Brice go. But those 15 wins? Can Bloom and his crew do the magic they did in Tampa? Worth the risk.

Jose Peraza – $2.9M / $3.2M / $3.0M. Peraza was a huge disappointment and the Red Sox organization has multiple options for players who provide the same job description and at a far cheaper price. If Peraza was coming off his 2018 Cincy season (14/58/.288) he would be a bargain. Peraza is gone.

Kevin Plawecki – $1.6M / $2.0M / $1.3M. If the Red Sox still had a 10th man award it would be for Plawecki. A perfect backup catcher who hit a surprising or is it shocking .341. Sandy Leon was gone when he became too costly, but Plawecki is a solid investment at an even $2M.

Eduardo Rodriguez – $8.3M / $8.3M / $8.3M. Missing the entire season gives not much of a window for statistical examination, but 19 wins and ace status in 2019 does. Do the Red Sox risk to work out a three year or longer deal? Either way, expect E-Rod to be back and $8.3M added to the bottom line.

Next: The only scenario that makes sense in chasing Trevor Bauer

Ryan Weber – $900K / $1.5M / $900K. Weber is like Godley and Brice another “meh” player but cheap with a surprising 1.0 bWAR for 2020. Weber doesn’t walk many (2.9 BB/9) or whiff many (5.7 K/9) and Boston is his fourth organization. A bottom of the rotation starter or long relief and the Red Sox will probably get him signed for around one million.