Orioles will be kept busy with arbitration decisions

There isn’t a team in baseball with more arbitration-eligible players than the Orioles, who lead the field with 15.

Too bad they can’t be exchanged for runs.

The list in alphabetical order reads as follows:

Robert Andino
Chris Davis
Lew Ford
Jason Hammel
Tommy Hunter
Jim Johnson
Brian Matusz
Darren O’Day
Troy Patton
Steve Pearce
Omar Quintanilla
Nolan Reimold
Mark Reynolds
Taylor Teagarden
Matt Wieters

Executive vice president Dan Duquette was asked on Saturday about the large number.

“We have over a dozen arbitration-eligible players,” he replied, “but we’ve taken a look at the payroll and we think we can fit most of them on the ballclub.”

Cot’s Baseball Contracts provides salaries for the 2012 season. Save the link. It comes in handy.

Quintanilla, Pearce and Ford are the most obvious non-tender candidates, though the Orioles reacquired Pearce last month, with only a few days left in the season, because they’d like to bring him to spring training.

Andino is a far more intriguing case, again holding down the starting job at second base for much of the season, but perhaps not viewed as worth the $2 million or so he could earn in arbitration after avoiding a hearing last winter and agreeing to a $1.3 million deal. That’s especially true if the Orioles bring in another second baseman, unsure again whether Brian Roberts will be healthy, and slot Andino in the super-utility role that manager Buck Showalter has long preferred.

Reynolds earned $7.5 million this year, and he becomes arbitration-eligible if the Orioles do the expected and decline to pick up his $11 million option for 2013.

Teagarden was Showalter’s choice as the backup catcher, and he remained patient while the former Texas Ranger recovered from a back injury. The Orioles like his work behind the plate, and the few hits he gave them were timely ones. What’s the going rate for a guy like him?

Johnson is in line for a significant raise from his $2.265 million salary after setting the club record with 51 saves. He received votes for Major League Baseball’s Delivery Man of the Year award, losing out today to Tampa Bay’s Fernando Rodney.

The Orioles rarely go to arbitration, and they could attempt to sign Johnson to a multi-year deal.

O’Day won a career-high seven games, posted a 2.28 ERA in 69 appearances and took over the set-up role once Pedro Strop began to struggle. He was a bargain at $1.35 million. He won’t come as cheaply next season.

The Orioles renewed Wieters’ contract last spring and he’s represented by Scott Boras. Yeah, this should be fun.

MLBTradeRumors.com’s Matt Swartz projects that the Orioles will retain Johnson, Hammel, Wieters, Davis, O’Day, Hunter, Reimold, Matusz and Patton, which could cost them approximately $28.1 million.

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