O’s avoid arbitration with 5 of 6 eligible players

The offseason is a long one, and for many fans, spring training can’t arrive fast enough. 

But for those hardcore fans, we always find things that keep us diving deeper into our teams

This time of year is when arbitration begins. Players and teams will exchange figures in hopes of coming to an agreement on a raise before having a third party intervene, if necessary. 

According to reports, the Orioles have reached agreements with five of their six arbitration eligible players. 

Let’s detail each deal made:

Anthony Santander – $7.4 million

Santander and the Orioles have agreed to a $7.4 million base salary for the 2023 season. This is the third year of arbitration for Santander.

Coming off a season that saw Santander lead the Orioles with 33 home runs, the veteran cashes in in a big way with this raise. Last year, the 28-year-old outfielder made $3.15 million.

This year looks to see Santander move to spending more time at DH and possibly playing some first base to give Ryan Mountcastle some rest when needed.   

Will Santander have another monster performance at the plate? It could push the veteran into a long-term deal if he delivers big again. 

Cedric Mullins – $4.1 million

Cedric Mullins was a 30/30 player, the first in club history, not even two seasons ago and followed that with another 30 stolen base season. He did still hit 16 home runs as well.

Still, Mullins had another strong season defensively and was a consistent presence at the top of the order. Though he hit 16 home runs, he would drive in 64 runs as the everyday lead-off man.  

Though he played in three fewer games, Mullins did set a career-high in RBIs (64) and stolen bases (34) while taking another step forward in his Gold-Glove-caliber defense. 

The Orioles and Mullins have agreed on a $4.1 million base salary for the 2023 season, after the young lefty made just $720K last season. Will Mullins come up big again and secure his future in Baltimore?  

Austin Hays – $3.2 million

Austin Hays has been on the edge of stardom since he arrived in Baltimore. With strong defense, a cannon of an arm and sneaky power at the dish, Hays has kept fans waiting on the edge for the next step. 

Hays did have another strong year defensively and, for the most part, stayed healthy enough to set a career-high in games played (145).

A minor injury might have cut his offensive production for the year, as his home run totals fell, though he still hit 16 for the year. Hays would also set career-highs in doubles (35), walks (34), total hits (134) and at-bats (535). Staying healthy is the biggest thing for Hays moving forward. 

The Orioles and Hays agreed on a $3.2 million deal for 2023, after he made just $713K last season. Will Hays take that next step forward in 2023?

Jorge Mateo – $2 million

Jorge Mateo burst onto the scene in 2022 and took the baseball world by storm. After getting his first full-time gig, Mateo and the Orioles would agree on a $2 million base salary for 2023, after the flashy shortstop made $710K in 2022.

Turning into a defensive wizard in the field, Mateo would finish in the top five in most defensive categories at the shortstop position. Though he was snubbed in the Golden Glove department, Mateo would take home the Fielding Bible Award, as each game saw him make a new head-turning play in the field.

Though he would set career-highs for most offensive categories, while leading the AL in stolen bases (35), he would struggle at the plate. Plagued by a 27% strikeout rate and a 4% walk rate, these stats left many wondering what this defensive wizard could do if he tapped into his offensive potential.

With the shortstop market being driven by mega-deals, Mateo has a chance to take the next step and become the next big-name shortstop in baseball. At $2 million, the Orioles are getting a steal on a player who has been a top prospect in multiple organizations.

Dillon Tate – $1.5 million

Tate became one of the strongest relief pitchers in baseball in 2022. Working as a set-up man and part-time closer, Tate would set career marks in wins (4), ERA (3.05), innings pitched (73.2), saves (5), strikeouts (60) and batters faced (292).

Helping form a shutdown tandem with Cionel Pérez and Félix Bautista, Tate would help lead the Orioles bullpen to one of the tops in baseball in 2022.

The soon-to-be 29-year-old turned his success into a $1.5 million base salary for 2023, after making $711.5K last season. Another season like last could help secure a long-term deal for the dominant right-hander.

Austin Voth – No agreement

Voth and the Orioles did not settle on an arbitration contract for the 2023 season, as he and the organization will exchange numbers.

Voth was acquired mid-season after the Nationals had waived him. He had given up 22 earned runs in 18.2 innings, good for a 10.23 ERA before coming to Baltimore.

Elias would take a chance on Voth and ultimately found another diamond in the rough, as he became a steady presence in the back of the Orioles’ starting rotation.

Voth would pitch in 22 games, 17 starts, and turn in a 5-4 record with a 3.04 ERA. He set career-bests in wins (5), strikeouts (72), starts (17) and batters faced (348).

Voth was a valuable addition to the Orioles but still has some question marks going forward. A third party will dictate the right-hander’s 2023 salary after he made $875K in 2022.

Each player listed has been integral to the Orioles’ build and recent success. With the 2023 season just around the corner, we will see if the value matches and if these players can leave their mark on the team.

UPDATE: According to MLB insider, Mark Feinsand, the Orioles and Voth are $300K apart in the salary arbitration figures exchanged on Friday.

Voth filed at $2 million, while the O’s filed at $1.7 million. A hearing will be held in February if the two sides don’t settle before then.

What do you think about these deals? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!

Like Stephen’s content? Follow him on Twitter – @SRJHeckman

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