After 34 players were forced to at least file for arbitration and submit their desired salary, many have settled on a midpoint or been resolved. The reigning AL MVP, Josh Donaldson, agreed on an extension with the Toronto Blue Jays after being separated by only $450,000. Meanwhile, his teammate Jesse Chavez, already won his arbitration case and will earn $4 million next year.
Reigning NL Cy Young winner, Jake Arrieta got slightly more than the midpoint from the Chicago Cubs. Jake Diekman is a rare example of a player that settled below the midpoint. And players like Nathan Eovaldi and Zach Britton settled right at the midpoint.
It's an interesting process and we're down to only five remaining names. Let's break down their impending cases.
Player Amount: $7.5 million
Club Amount: $5.3 million
Midpoint: $6.4 million
Date: Wednesday, February 10
Belt is coming off one of his most productive seasons of his career, and entering only his second arbitration year. After making $3.6 million last season, Belt is asking for a $3.9 million raise. That's a pretty substantial 111 percent raise.
That being said, by FanGraphs dollar per WAR ($/WAR) estimates, Belt was worth $34.3 million to his team last season. Unfortunately for Belt, $/WAR estimates have no bearing at all on the arbiters. Instead, they seem to care more about the old school stats. Though Belt's walk rate spiked upward in 2015, the arbiters will be more interested in his home runs, which also hit a career-high last season.
Despite hitting a career-high 18 home runs, that number still seems low relative to his position. Among qualified first basemen, Belt ranks 16th in home runs tied with Miguel Cabrera and Eric Hosmer. With 100 fewer plate appearances than Hosmer, Belt's case should be strong and we will find out shortly.
Player Amount: $13.1 million
Club Amount: $9 million
Midpoint: $11.05 million
Entering his third and final arbitration hearing, Chapman is asking for a $5.1 million raise. That means the New York Yankees filed that, based on Chapman's 2015 output, he should only be worth a $1 million raise.
Taking into account Chapman's dominance as a reliever, that seems foolishly low. However, if the arbiters happen to care about Chapman's private life and how it might be a detriment going forward, perhaps they will settle on the lower dollar figure.
Despite the bad news that Chapman brings with him, it's hard to imagine a 28-year old, left-handed reliever with 146 career saves not earning a significant raise.
Player Amount: $3.85 million
Club Amount: $3 million
Midpoint: $3.425 million
Date: Tuesday, February 16
The unlikely Triples King of 2015 -- he actually only finished second in triples last season to Kevin Kiermaier -- will head to his arbitration hearing separated by $850,000. That may not seem like a lot, but it's actually a 28.3 percent difference.
Entering only his first season of arbitration, Gattis is asking for a $3.3235 million raise from his very-near league minimum salary of last season. Despite hitting so many triples, Gattis is coming off of his least productive season to date, but he did hit 27 home runs. The vast majority of his negative value seems to have come from his defense, while he made the official transition from catcher to outfielder last season.
Gattis underwent surgery recently to repair a hernia and will be unable to workout with the team until February 23. This could limit his spring availability, but it shouldn't have much bearing on the outcome of the arbitration hearing.
Player Amount: $3.3 million
Club Amount: $2.8 million
Midpoint: $3.05 million
Like Gattis, LeMahieu is entering his first foray into arbitration. Unlike Gattis though, LeMahieu is coming off of his most productive season yet. He slashed .301/.358/.388 and still maintained his notoriety as a defense-first player.
By wRC+, LeMahieu actually hit 11 percent worse than the league average. His lack of power can be an issue at times, and his BABIP of .362 indicates some regression for 2016.
Either way, LeMahieu should earn a substantial raise over his $517,500 earned last season. For what it's worth, by $/WAR estimates, LeMahieu was valued at $14.9 million last season.
Player Amount: $7 million
Club Amount: $4.2 million
Midpoint: $5.6 million
Now that the Kansas City Royals extended Lorenzo Cain through his two remaining arbitration years, some expected them to do the same with Moustakas. However, the gap between the player and his team in this case seems pretty substantial.
Moustakas reinvented himself as a hitter last season by learning how to beat the defensive shift. But does that warrant the $4.4 million -- or 169 percent -- raise that Moustakas is asking for?
His 22 homers last year ties him for eighth among qualified third basemen with Trevor Plouffe. He also struck out significantly less last season and his on-base percentage reached a very respectable .348. While Moustakas is due a raise, he may have aimed a bit too high in his initial filings.