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Will Venable's Arb Buyout Looks Pretty Team Friendly

The Padres may have gotten a bargain by signing the lefty outfielder to a 2 year, $8.5 million deal.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

My quick and dirty guess at what Venable was going to get via the arb process was $4M for 2014. He'd then get a raise in 2015 as well. So, that would mean somewhere over $10M over the next two years. Which is certainly more than the 2 years, $8.5 million figure that he and the team have agreed to.

Will Venable

#25 / Right Field / San Diego Padres





Oct 29, 1982

However, that was just an off-the-cuff guess based on the salary he is getting in 2013 ($2.675 million), how productive he has been this season (pretty good) and where he is in the arbitration years process (4 years of service time after the end of the 2013 season). The better way to figure this out is to look at some comparable players. For comparables you want to find outfielders (or at least position players) who play at about the same level as Venable and had completed the same amount of MLB service time.

2013 - Will Venable 129 400 55 109 18 7 20 49 24 97 15 5 .273 .315 .502

I first found Giants OF Angel Pagan as a near comp. His final two arb years were 2011 and 2012. He was coming off a career high in games played, stolen bases and home runs and had high batting average had been high in the 2 seasons leading up to these arb years. His 2010 salary was $1.5M (compared to Venable's aforementioned $2.675M) so there is a discrepancy there that we have to keep in mind. Pagan then got $3.5M in 2011 and $4.850M in 2012.  That's 2 years, $8.35M. And Pagan didn't even have a very good year in 2011. Combine that with the lower starting salary and Venable's deal already looks like a bargain.

Brewers OF Carlos Gomez is another near comp. His final two arb years were 2012 and 2013. Like Pagan, his starting salary going into those years was $1.5 (again shy of Venable's $2.675). Gomez, unlike Pagan and Venable then had an awful, awful year and settled for a small raise that got him to $1.962M in 2012. That part is not that comparable. Then he had a very good year where he magically found power (19 HRs vs. previous career high of 8 both in minors and majors) and got a sizeable bump up to $4.3M in 2013. That's 2 years, $6.262M. Since Venable already had some factors in his favor compared to Gomez, that would point to Venable's deal either being fair or a bargain.

Some other partial comparables are available. Journeyman OF Melky Cabrera was bad enough going into his final 2 years that he was non tendered, so only the final year can be used as a comp. In 2011, he had a good season numbers-wise and got $6M for his final arb year. Something that Venable could be looking at. Since Venable is already looking at about $4M for the other arb year, this could point to a Padres bargain.

The other partial comp is A's OF Seth Smith. He'll be entering his final arb year after this season ends, so only one year to compare to as well. He earned $2.415M in 2011 (compared to Venable's $2.675M again) and got $3.675M in arbitration. This again points to Venable projecting to about $4M in 2014 and, as you could see with Gomez and Pagan, a sizeable raise comes in that final arb year that would like push the total project cost for Will Venable above $8.5M.

Unfortunately, non of these are clear cut templates for Venable's final 2 seasons of team control. However, there seems to be enough evidence to support that the Padres did well here. No matter your take on Will Venable the player (I've always loved him), the realities of the baseball market are what they are and the price paid here seems at least fair in order to gain cost certainty with the teams currently hottest hitter.

And with that concluded, I leave you with these:



0818_venable_walkoff_hr_2_medium 0818_venable_walkoff_hr_4_medium