The next deadline in the Orioles’ offseason comes Friday, when they must exchange salary figures with their arbitration-eligible players who are not yet signed.
In Baltimore’s case, that group is first baseman/outfielder Trey Mancini, infielder Hanser Alberto and right-handed reliever Mychal Givens. The Orioles and right-hander Miguel Castro, in his first year of eligibility, agreed Thursday to a $1.05 million deal, plus bonuses, to avoid arbitration Thursday, per an industry source. Castro, who earned $569,000 last season, was projected to receive a raise of $1.2 million by MLB Trade Rumors.
If a player does not reach an agreement with the Orioles by Friday’s noon deadline, he and the club will likely head to an arbitration hearing in February. The Orioles are welcome to continue negotiating with the players up until their hearings, which will be held Feb. 3-21, but executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias expressed in September that the club will take the “file and trial” approach to arbitration, meaning any negotiations will end after Friday’s deadline.
Instead, the figures the team and players exchange Friday would serve as the players’ lone two potential salaries for 2020, with a panel of arbitrators deciding between the two if the sides don’t come to a prior settlement. Mancini is projected to earn a salary of $5.7 million in his first year of arbitration, with Givens, eligible for the second time, is projected to earn $3.2 million, per MLB Trade Rumors. Alberto, in his first year of arbitration eligibility, is projected for a salary of $1.9 million.
Baltimore tendered contracts to all three players in December, meaning unless they are traded, they will be members of the Orioles in 2020. Friday’s deadline serves to establish their potential salaries for the season while also potentially motivating both sides to come to agreements to avoid arbitration, which is available to players with, generally, at least three years of major league service time but less than the six needed to reach free agency.
The Orioles entered the offseason with seven arbitration-eligible players, but in addition to agreeing to a deal with Castro, they’ve signed left-hander Richard Bleier to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration and traded away right-hander Dylan Bundy and infielder Jonathan Villar. Villar, in his last year of arbitration eligibility before reaching free agency, had a projected salary of $10.4 million, while Bundy, in his second year of arbitration, was projected to make $5.7 million. The pair will go through the arbitration process with their new organizations, the Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Angels, respectively.
MLB.com was first to report the agreement with Castro.
Since Peter Angelos became the team’s owner in 1993, the arbitrators have sided with the Orioles in 11 of 13 hearings, with only four of those coming since 2011. Baltimore last lost a hearing in 2017, when the panel sided with reliever Brad Brach.
Spring training tickets go on sale Saturday
Tickets for the Orioles’ 17 spring training home games at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida, go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at orioles.com/spring.
For fans subscribing to the free digital Sarasota 365 Newsletter or Warehouse Wire, there is a presale ongoing until 10 p.m. Friday. Fans can sign up for either the Sarasota 365 Newsletter and Warehouse Wire at orioles.com/newsletter.
Pitchers and catchers reporter to Sarasota on Feb. 11, with the Orioles beginning their 10th spring training at Ed Smith Stadium on Feb. 23 against the Boston Red Sox.
Marcos Diplán clears waivers
Right-hander Marcos Diplán, designated for assignment when the Orioles signed Kohl Stewart, has cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk, the team announced Thursday.
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Diplán, 23, has not pitched above Double-A since signing with the Texas Rangers out of the Dominican Republic in 2013. He spent most of his career with the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization, but since July, he has been traded to the Minnesota Twins and claimed off waivers by the Detroit Tigers and Orioles.