Diving Into 2021 Arbitration Salary Projections for Nine Eligible Red Sox Players

MLB Trade Rumors released their annual arbitration salary projections for the 2021 season earlier Thursday.

Unlike past years, projecting arbitration salaries for 2021 has become even more confounding than usual due to the financial circumstances the pandemic-induced, 60-game 2020 Major League Baseball season created for its clubs.

With that in mind, MLBTR’s Matt Swartz has put together three different projection models for this exercise in salary arbitration. The first of these three models directly uses statistics from the 2020 season, while the second model “extrapolates all counting stats to would-be 162-game totals,” and the third, which only applies to non-first-time arbitration eligible players, gives players 37% of the raise they would have received if the 2020 season was 162 games long. That being the case because 60 divided by 162 is equal to 37%.

It is somewhat confusing, but here is how those projections would apply to the nine members of the Red Sox who are currently eligible for salary arbitration this winter, again courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors.

PlayerModel 1Model 2Model 3
Matt Barnes$3.7MM$5.7MM$4.1MM
Ryan Brasier$1.00MM$1.6MM$1.0MM
Austin Brice$700K$900K$700K
Rafael Devers$3.4MM$6.3MM$3.4MM
Zack Godley$800K$1.1MM$800K
Jose Peraza$2.9MM$3.2MM$3.0MM
Kevin Plawecki$1.6MM$2.0MM$1.3MM
Eduardo Rodriguez$8.3MM$8.3MM$8.3MM
Ryan Weber$900K$1.5M$900K

Among these nine players, Matt Barnes and Eduardo Rodriguez are both entering their final seasons of arbitration eligibility before reaching free agency for the first time next November.

Other names listed above, such as Zack Godley and Jose Peraza, could very well be non-tendered by Boston by December 2, which would make them free agents.

Even if a record number of non-tenders are expected between now and early December, this projection model is certainly still helpful. And if we take the projected salaries of the players listed above and use the third and most-likeliest model to be used in this scenario, the total amount of arbitration salaries would add up to approximately $23.5 million.

Take that total and add it to the salaries of players who are under contract or have options for 2021, which would be approximately $155 million, and you arrive at the Sox’ projected payroll for next season, $178.5 million as noted by @RedSoxPayroll.

Of course, this does not take into consideration any players the Red Sox could add over the course of what is sure to be another busy winter for chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co, so that projected payroll number is likely to change relatively soon.

I hope this piece was insightful as Major League Baseball prepares to embark on an offseason unlike any before in recent memory. Should be intriguing to monitor to say the least.

Red Sox Win Arbitration Case With Eduardo Rodriguez

The Red Sox have won their arbitration case with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. The club will pay Rodriguez $8.3 million this season, not the $8.975 million he filed for last month.

Rodriguez, who turns 27 in April, is coming off a breakout campaign last year after posting a 3.81 ERA and 3.86 FIP over a career-best 34 starts and career-best 203 1/3 innings pitched. That was solid enough to earn him a sixth-place finish in American League Cy Young voting.

The Venezuela native was one of only two Sox players who remained unsigned going back to the deadline to exchange arbitration figures last month.

The other player, Andrew Benintendi, agreed to a two-year, $10 million contract extension with Boston last week that essentially buys out his first two seasons of arbitration eligibility.

By earning $8.3 million in 2020, Rodriguez will become the third-highest paid pitcher on the club’s active roster. He is eligible to become a free agent for the first time following the 2021 season.

Red Sox Will Reportedly Tender Contract to Jackie Bradley Jr.

The Red Sox WILL tender a contract to outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Bradley Jr., who turns 30 in April, is projected to earn $11 million in his final year of salary arbitration in 2020 before becoming a free agent for the first time next winter.

As Speier indicates in the tweet above, there had been a fair amount of speculation surrounding just what the Red Sox would do with Bradley Jr. as they look to cut down on their payroll.

In 147 games this past season, the University of South Carolina product slashed .225/.317/.421 with 21 home runs and 62 RBI while also providing solid defense in center field.

Is that production worth $11 million next season? Well, it’s hard to say. But for now, it appears that Boston will hold on to Bradley Jr. in the hopes that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and co. can potentially work out a trade and continue to slash payroll.

The non-tender deadline is at 8 PM ET Monday.