The Orioles formally extended contract offers for 2018 to all of their seven arbitration-eligible players in advance of Friday’s nontender deadline.
As expected, the team made contract offers to third baseman Manny Machado, closer Zach Britton, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, right-hander Kevin Gausman, setup man Brad Brach, shortstop Tim Beckham and catcher Caleb Joseph.
On Friday, teams only needed to inform players that a contract offer was being made, a formality that begins the arbitration process. Teams and players will exchange salary figures next month, with most players agreeing to terms on one-year deals before reaching that deadline.
After figures are exchanged, teams and players can continue negotiating throughout the process leading up to the time when arbitration hearings are heard in February. Last season, the Orioles initially took the stance that all contracts that were unresolved once salary figures were exchanged would go to an arbitration hearing without further negotiation, but a deal was worked out with Gausman before he went to a hearing.
Brach and Joseph were the only Orioles players to go to arbitration hearings last season. Brach won his case, more than doubling his salary from the previous year to $3.05 million and handing the Orioles their first arbitration case loss since 1995. Joseph lost his hearing and made $700,000 in 2017.
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Several Orioles are set to make significant raises through the arbitration process, highlighted by a projected $5.8 million raise to Machado and a $5.625 million raise expected for Schoop, according to MLBTradeRumors.com.
In his final year before free agency, Machado is projected to make $17.3 million, which would make him the third-highest-paid player on the Orioles roster behind Chris Davis and Adam Jones. Machado made $11.5 million in 2017.
Schoop is projected to make $9.1 million in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility after making $3.475 million in 2017.
An injury-plagued season is projected to keep Britton’s raise in his final year before free agency low. He’s estimated to make $12.2 million in 2018 after earning $11.4 million last offseason coming off a historic season that ended with a fourth-place finish in the American League Cy Young Award voting.
In each of the two offseasons before this one, the Orioles have added a significant piece by signing a player that was nontendered — and thus became a free agent.
Last offseason, after catcher Welington Castillo was nontendered by the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Orioles signed him to a contract that guaranteed him $13 million if he exercised a $7 million player option for 2018. Castillo declined that option and reportedly signed a two-year deal with the Chicago White Sox on Friday.
The Orioles also signed designated hitter Pedro Álvarez during spring training in 2016 after he was nontendered by the Pittsburgh Pirates the previous December.