Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J Ellis celebrates with the team's closer Kenley Jansen. Both players have avoided arbitration by agreeing to contracts with the Dodgers.
The Dodgers avoided going to arbitration with any of their players this year, for the seventh straight off-season. Clayton Kershaw, A.J. Ellis and Kenley Jansen were all arbitration-eligible, but each Dodger was able to settle on a contract before hearings began.
While the details of Kershaw's record-breaking $215 million deal are well known, Jansen and Ellis' contracts may have come in under the radar for some fans.
Arbitration is an interesting process because the players are going to be back with the team regardless. It is just a matter of how much the organization and players are willing to haggle in order to get the most out of contracts early in their pro career.
A.J. Ellis was eligible for arbitration for the second time in his career. He filed for a raise to $4.6 million in 2014, but the Dodgers countered with a $3 million offer.
They came to terms at $3.55 million, which is less than the halfway meeting point, but comes with incentives. Ellis can get bonuses totaling up to $150,000 based on how many at-bats and games he catches next season.
Jansen was eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career. While he has been on the normal path for a professional ball player, it is still somewhat numbing to think that the best pitcher in the Dodger bullpen the last two years was making league minimum.
Sure, $512,000 is nothing to scoff at, but the $4.3 million contract the two sides agreed on is much more fair for his services. Jansen filed at $5.05 million and the Dodgers countered with $3.5 million, so the deal is just north of the halfway point.
He will be making eight times what he made in 2013 as one of the league's premier relief pitchers.
If either of these deals had not been made, the two parties would have had to meet for arbitration with a third-party who decides what the player is worth. The Dodgers have not gone to arbitration with a player since 2007 when they went through the process with relief pitcher Joe Beimel.
So go ahead and tack on an extra $8 million to the Dodgers 2014 payroll. That brings them close to $260 million committed to the season.