This year, four Red Sox are eligible for arbitration. The big name is closer Jonathan Papelbon while Manny Delcarmen, Ramon Ramirez (the original one) and Jeremy Hermida round out the other three. (Hideki Okajima recently avoided arbitration, signing for $2.75 million, a raise of $1 million from his 2009 salary.)
Tim Lincecum is the star of the entire arbitration process and all eyes will be on him to see if he can beat the record for an arbitration award, set by Ryan Howard of the Phillies. Howard snagged $10 million in arbitration, while Lincecum could see that offer set as the base by the team, never mind the high point.
Papelbon will not get $10 million in arbitration. It’s not going to happen. He was awarded $6.25 million after avoiding arbitration. My guess is that the Sox will feel he’s worth around $7.5 million via the arbitration process, whereas Papelbon will request $9 million and the middle point will be $8 million. I doubt that Theo will allow the process to get before a judge.
How about the other three?
This is Delcarmen’s first year of arbitration but is coming off a tough year. I wouldn’t rule out agreeing to a deal around or just under $1 million, especially in the first year of arbitration. In Baseball-Reference.com’s similar pitchers list, Manny Corpas shows up. Corpas inked a deal immediately after his rookie season so the salary is a bit skewed, but he has similar service time and is set to make $2.75 million in 2010, this after a 2009 salary of $750,000.
Ramirez had a solid season for Boston, essentially proving himself as a late-inning option that struggles against lefties. This is also his first year of arbitration eligibility, and I would be surprised if he settled for less than Delcarmen.
Hermida is entering his second year of arbitration after making $2.25 million. Hermida should see a slight raise, but not significant. I would say $3 million is a solid benchmark.