Arbitration time is upon us as players and teams are set to exchange salary proposals over the next few days. With the Angels facing a league-leading (Yay! They lead the league in something!!) eight arbitration cases, they've got a lot of work to do. And since there is nothing else going on in Angel Land right now, I am going to go ahead and stick my nose into the mess and make some predictions on how each arbitation case will go down.
Oh, and instead of doing all that pointless "research" to figure out proper salary comparisons, I'm just going to go ahead and wing it. But as an added bonus, I'll toss in a barely related observation about each player, just so it seems like I put more thought into this than I really did.
I wonder if the "umpires" in baseball arbitration cases are just as bad as they are on the field?
Prediction: A three-year, $13 million contract extension
Reasoning: Aybar put up a fight in abitration last year but then went and had a craptastic 2010 season, so he has to know that he isn't in for a big raise. However, the Angels aren't far removed from considering him a franchise cornerstone. This seems like a perfect opportunity for the Halos and Aybar to strike a deal. Aybar gets to be overpaid next season and the Angels get to buy out a year of free agency in the process.
Barely Related Observation: Aybar's Wikipedia page says Angel fans call him Admiral Aybar, as in Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars. I have not heard him called that once in my life. Am I just out of the loop or does some Wikipedia editor have a dumb sense of humor?
Prediction: $1.5 million
Reasoning: This is probably a little more than he deserves, but he'll likely sell the fact that he didn't suck prior to joining the Halos and finagle a couple extra hundred grand out of the equation.
Barely Related Observation: When the Angels first traded for Callaspo, I remember hearing Victor Rojas recount the tale that Callaspo and Aybar were once nicknamed Hoover and Oreck when they were in the Angel farm system. I assumed that it was because they were such good fielders and "sucked up" all the groundballs. Turns out we could reapply the nicknames right now because they both really just plain suck right now.
Prediction: $3.5 million
Reasoning: Howie's numbers actually were down a bit from last season, but he didn't get demoted to the minors again, so I have the feeling that will somehow result in his salary doubling. However, I think this one has the potential to be one of the last cases to settle since I suspect the two sides will be pretty far apart on their initial salary submissions.
Barely Related Observation: Would it really be too much to ask for the Angels to get Howie an acting lesson or two before they stick him in another one of those god awful Howard's Superstore commercials? Either that or just stop making those stupid commercials. I'm good either way.
Prediction: $1.4 million
Reasoning: Why? Because everyone gets a raise in arbitration, even if he sucks and blows at the same time. That being said, I am TERRIFIED that the Angels are going to inexplicably sign Mathis to a multi-year contract. That goes against all logic, but it is just a hunch I have. We all know Scioscia loves him and I can very easily see them justifying it as a deal that locks him in as an under-paid starter-type this year and then properly priced as a potential back-up once they deem Conger ready. I REALLY hope that this is just a crazy hunch.
Barely Related Observation: Am I the only one that thinks that Jeff Mathis kinda looks like a skinny-version of Junior Gorg from Fraggle Rock?
Prediction: $4 million
Reasoning: Kendry is going to get a very nice first arbitration award regardless, but I think a key factor here will be that Scott Boras is his agent. I have a hunch that the Angels will take a fall in these negotiations to try and soften up Boras for later on. I know the Halos aren't the biggest Boras fans, but they have to try and do something to ease the tension between both sides and make it possible to even broach the topic of a contract extension in coming years. If Carlos Gonzalez can do it, why can't Kendry?
Barely Related Observation: I don't know why these thoughts are focusing on nicknames, but I can't help it. Anyways, can we please get him a real nickname besides K-Mo? I know Rex Hudler tried Bam-Bam on him, but that just doesn't float my boat. Somebody needs to get on this.
Prediction: $5.85 million
Reasoning: You'd think that the .238 average would hurt his value, but you forget he is a catcher. Position isn't supposed to matter in arbitration, but somehow it always kind of does, thus Naps getting a major pay bump. Don't expect this to settle quickly though. The Angels are likely to lowball Napoli to try and drag his price down a little bit to make sure he remains as tradeable as possible.
Barely Related Observation: What's the over-under for how many new tattoos Napoli will be rocking when he shows up for camp this year? I'm setting it at 2.5 and with his forthcoming pay raise, I definitely like the over.
Prediction: $8.25 million
Reasoning: All that goodwill the Angels thought they were building with Morales will go right out the window because this one is going the distance. The Halos will make a very reasonable offer, but given the huge season Weaver is coming off of, Boras is sure to ask for the moon and it is going to be up to the arbitrator to decide.
Barely Related Observation: Yup, nicknames again. Ever since Jered cut his hair, I can't help but notice that he looks like Daniel Tosh, therefore I would like to suggest that we begin declare Jered Weaver's new nickname to be "Weave.0".
Reasoning: Like I said, everyone gets a raise.
Barely Related Observation: I have to say, I was glad to see that Reggie really toned down his usage of his little lip snarl in the batter's box. Frankly, it was kind of ridiculous. For him to try and act all tough when he couldn't possibly be more unintimidating what with his total lack of power and teeny tiny stature.