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The arbitration tender deadline looms for six Padres players

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Six Padres are eligible for arbitration. Will any fail to receive an offer before Friday’s deadline?

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at San Diego Padres
Brad Hand points to GM A.J. Preller and demands that he “SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!”
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

A deadline looms this coming Friday. Teams are required to tender offers to all players eligible for arbitration before close of business this Friday, December 1st. The Padres have six players eligible for arbitration this year. They would have had eight, but they decided to be proactive by signing Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte to extensions last year. Thanks to some dedication over the years, the guys at MLBTradeRumors.com have come up with surprisingly accurate arbitration projections. Here are the six players the Padres need to address in the next day and a half or so, with their service time, arbitration year, and projected 2018 salaries:

  • Brad Hand (4.092, second year) – $3.8MM
  • Carter Capps (4.133, second year) – $1.3MM
  • Robbie Erlin (3.078, first year) – $700K
  • Kirby Yates (3.021, first year) – $1.1MM
  • Cory Spangenberg (3.016, first year) – $2.0MM
  • Matt Szczur (2.134, first year) – $800K

Roughly a year ago, the Padres decided to decline tendering contract offers to six players: Tyson Ross, Alexi Amarista, Jon Edwards, Erik Johnson, Jose Pirela, and Hector Sanchez. Four of them came back to the Padres as minor league free agents, but Ross and Amarista found new gigs with other teams.

This year we should expect to see much less turbulence. Brad Hand is currently the most valuable reliever on the trade market, and Kirby Yates proved himself to be a surprisingly reliable bullpen arm last summer. Cory Spangenberg had a very nice year and figures to be a prominent piece of the Padres infield in 2018 unless he’s involved in a trade deal. Those three guys are essentially locks to stay with the organization, the only question at this point is their 2018 salary. As for the other three, their situations aren’t quite so clear.

  • Robbie Erlin is on track to compete for a starting rotation slot next spring, after missing most of the last two seasons due to injury, including a Tommy John surgery. While he’s affordable and there should still be plenty of talent in his left arm, Erlin’s health has yet to be proven. If the organization has cause to doubt his
  • Matt Szczur performed admirably since being acquired via trade last May, but his relative lack of batting average and power make him relatively replaceable. He was brought to the Padres to fill the void created by Travis Jankowski’s broken right foot, and a healthy Jankowski makes Szczur somewhat redundant.
  • Carter Capps was completing his recovery from Tommy John surgery this time last year, and the news was that he would be healthy some time in the spring. There was hope that he could return to his near-triple-digit heat, but his recovery didn’t go as planned. After struggling most of the year in the minors with multiple setbacks, Capps finally returned to MLB action but he was missing the top gear on his fastball, instead relying on his slider to be his “out” pitch. After being shut down a final time due to a blood clot scare, thoracic outlet syndrome was diagnosed and he underwent a procedure to reduce the compression of nerves and blood vessels in his pitching arm. He’ll be out most of if not all of next year, so the Padres would need to pay him his arbitration salary and hold a 40-man roster spot for him through the winter.

There are plenty of reasons to retain all of these players, but the full 40-man roster means that adding players via free agency, trades, or the Rule 5 draft will require corresponding roster moves. These are the opportunity costs that need to be considered when A.J. Preller drafts the offer letters for these six men.