The basic way to try and project arbitration salaries is go back and look at players who were recently in similar situations. The things that make the arbitration situations similar are: 1. The number of years a player has been arbitration eligible, 2. The amount of playing time the player has had, and 3. What kind of basic numbers (batting average, home runs, wins, saves, etc.) have they put up. I've spent time over the last couple of years trying to guess at these values and what I've found is that MLB Trade Rumors does a better job. Here are their most recent projections:
- First time: Everth Cabrera ($1.2MM), Kyle Blanks ($600K)
- Second time: John Baker ($900K), Luke Gregerson ($3.2MM), Joe Thatcher ($1.1MM), Clayton Richard ($5MM), Will Venable ($2.5MM)
- Third time: Dustin Moseley ($2MM), Chase Headley ($8.3MM), Micah Owings ($1.2MM), Tim Stauffer ($3.2MM), Edinson Volquez ($4.6MM)
They go on to analyze each of the players, but being the blogger that I am I'll give you my own quick take. Cabrera, Gregerson, Thatcher, Richard, Venable, Headley and Volquez are coming back barring some fancy maneuvering by Trader Josh Byrnes. Blanks isn't that expensive, but he's not going to be in the major league picture. Baker is up in the air because the team needs to figure out what it is doing with Nick Hundley. Dustin Moseley has been hurt too much and hasn't been good enough to warrant the $2M and the roster spot that comes with it. Same goes even more so for Micah Owings.
Tim Stauffer is by far the most interesting. $3.2M is a big chunk of change. Or at least it was for the penny pinching Padres. Stauffer is supposed to be ready by Spring Training, was the projected Opening Day starter in 2012 before injury and $3.2M isn't that big of a gamble on a player like him for a team that's into spending some coin.
If you add some of these numbers and combine them with some of the contract extensions handed out, plus all the players making the around the minimum, then you come out with a current expected payroll of around $60M. With the team talking about making some splashes in free agency for starting pitching, you have to wonder if they are going to keep upping that number or if some of these players have to be sacrificed (either by trade or non tender).