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Five Yankees to file for salary arbitration

Posted By Chad Jennings On January 14, 2014 @ 4:26 pm In Misc | 188 Comments

Tweet [1]

Ivan Nova [2]

In most cases, today is a relatively meaningless deadline. It’s the day for players to file for salary arbitration. Figures aren’t exchanged until Friday, and arbitration hearings don’t begin until early February. In most cases, players avoid an arbitration fight sometime before it actually reaches a hearing. These deadlines — filing for arbitration, submitting figures, etc. — are basically understood as part of the deal. It’s a routine process that usually ends with some sort of contract agreement.

For the Yankees, five players will be filing for arbitration today, and all five are pretty interesting players for 2014. MLB Trade Rumors has a pretty reliable formula [3]for predicting salaries for arbitration-eligible players, so we’ll use those figures as an early estimate.

David Robertson [4]Dave Robertson
Third year eligible
Predicted salary: $5.5 million
Predicted role: Closer
In the past three years, Robertson has emerged as one of the best and most reliable setup relievers in baseball. His walk rate has steadily declined, and he’s coming off the lowest WHIP of his career. His salary is not expected to double this year (it was $3.1 million last year), but it might come close. For now, he’s the presumed next-in-line to replace Mariano Rivera as the Yankees closer.

Brett Gardner
Third year eligible
Predicted salary: $4 million
Predicted role: Starting left fielder
There is some sense that the arbitration model might have underestimated Gardner’s earning power this winter. We’ll have to wait and see. Even with a fairly significant raise though, Gardner should remain a remarkably affordable player for one last season before hitting free agency. You could make the case that the Yankees would be better of trading him, or that they’d be better of signing him to a multi-year extension.

Ivan Nova
First-year eligible
Predicted salary: $2.8 million
Predicted role: No. 3 starter
The days of Nova making basically the league minimum are gone, but the Yankees will gladly pay the first-year arbitration cost to to have another year of Nova’s young upside in the rotation. He just turned 27 years old over the weekend, so his arbitration years could take him through his 20s before the Yankees have to decide whether to make a multi-year commitment.

Shawn Kelley
Third year eligible
Predicted salary: $1.5 million
Predicted role: Late-inning reliever
Made a little less than a million last year, but Kelley remains relatively cheap coming off a nice year in the Yankees bullpen. Bringing him back isn’t going to break the bank. Question is whether bringing him back will significantly help the back of the bullpen. Can Kelley repeat last year’s strikeout totals and be a go-to reliever in either the seventh or maybe the eighth?

Francisco Cervelli
First year eligible
Predicted salary: $1 million
Predicted role: Backup catcher
After a year of injuries and a suspension, Cervelli will come to spring training with a slightly larger contract and a need to win his old job back. He’s no longer fighting for a job as the starter, but he’ll have to fend off Austin Romine and maybe J.R. Murphy to remain with the Yankees as a backup. He played well when he was healthy last year. The Yankees chose to keep Cervelli while dumping fellow first-year arbitration case Chris Stewart.

Associated Press photos

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[1] Tweet: https://twitter.com/share

[2] Image: http://yankees.lhblogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Nova2-3.jpg

[3] MLB Trade Rumors has a pretty reliable formula : http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/10/arbitration-eligibles-new-york-yankees.html

[4] Image: http://yankees.lhblogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Robertson-7.jpg