Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chris Haft Says... Arbitration to boost payroll

Giants' payroll likely to climb after arbitration

Ross, Sanchez among six players in line for salary increases

SAN FRANCISCO -- The expense report for the Giants' World Series triumph will soar as they enter salary arbitration season.
Significant pay increases are virtually assured for six players, whose 2010 salaries are in parentheses: Outfielders Cody Ross ($4.45 million) and Andres Torres ($426,000), left-handers Jonathan Sanchez ($2.1 million) and Javier Lopez ($775,000) and right-handers Santiago Casilla ($400,000) and Ramon Ramirez ($1.155 million).
Not only are they eligible for arbitration, a process that generated an average 107 percent raise for such players last year, but each of them also helped the Giants surge to their first Series conquest since 1954.

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    Players may file for arbitration between Wednesday and Jan. 15. Each player and his respective club will exchange a proposed figure for a one-year contract on Jan. 18. Those unable to reach agreements will proceed to a February hearing in which an arbitrator will select either the team's or the player's proposal.
    Teams can limit payroll increases by negotiating settlements. No matter how many compromises the Giants strike, their total payroll is bound to exceed $120 million, up from approximately $96 million last season. The Giants still would like to exercise as much control as possible while avoiding potentially adversarial hearings.
    "Everybody wants to find common ground," Giants vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans said. "I'm sure both sides will make an honest effort."
    Under ordinary circumstances, the Giants probably would try to forge a multiyear agreement with Sanchez, whose salary skyrocketed from $455,000 in 2009 to $2.1 million last season, his first year of arbitration eligibility. Sanchez also earned an additional $75,000 in performance bonuses by pitching 193 1/3 innings.
    Barring poor performance, Sanchez will continue to receive handsome pay hikes this year and next through arbitration. A mainstay of San Francisco's starting rotation at age 28, he finished 13-9 with a 3.07 ERA and held opponents to a .204 batting average and 6.61 hits per nine innings, both Major League lows.
    But the Giants possess little spare change. They already have more than $66 million committed to five players in 2012: left-hander Barry Zito ($19 million), right-hander Matt Cain ($15.333 million), center fielder Aaron Rowand ($13.6 million), first baseman Aubrey Huff ($10 million) and closer Brian Wilson ($8.5 million). The Giants also must factor in an eight-figure wage for Tim Lincecum, who'll be arbitration-eligible after earning $14 million this year.
    Salaries for arbitration-eligibles tend to be based on comparisons of wages earned by players at the same position with similar Major League service time.
    Torres, whose 2010 salary barely exceeded the Major League minimum, conceivably could triple or quadruple his pay. San Francisco's starting center fielder, whose compelling personal background has prompted a documentary film company to chronicle the story of his life, hit .268 with 16 home runs, 63 RBIs and 26 stolen bases a year ago.
    Though the percentage of Ross' raise may not match Torres', the Most Valuable Player of the National League Championship Series (.350, three doubles, three homers and five RBIs) should command a salary in the $7 million range, at least. Ross hit .269 with 14 homers and 65 RBIs in the 2010 regular season.
    As setup or situational relievers, Casilla, Lopez and Ramirez likely won't receive exorbitant raises, though their income will climb nevertheless. Casilla (7-2, 1.95 ERA) amassed 56 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings and stranded 41 of 47 inherited baserunners, the Majors' second-best ratio; Lopez (4-2, 2.34) held left-handed batters to a .162 batting average (16-for-99); and Ramirez (1-3, 2.99) yielded only two earned runs in 27 innings after joining the Giants from Boston in a July 31 trade.

    Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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