The deadline has arrived for teams to sign their arbitration-eligible players for the 2021 season.
The Orioles tendered contracts to outfielders Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander back on Dec. 2. However, the sides will exchange figures later this afternoon if they don’t reach agreements by 1 p.m., and hearings will be scheduled for next month.
Negotiations are allowed to continue beyond the salary exchange. However, the Orioles could be in file-and-trial mode again, which heightens the importance of getting deals done today.
Mancini’s salary was set at $4.75 million prior to the coronavirus pandemic. He didn’t play in 2020 after being diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer, which makes for a unique case in 2021.
MLBTradeRumors.com estimated that Mancini will receive $4.8 million. Basically a salary do-over.
The site projected Santander’s salary to rise from $572,500 to $1.7 million. His case couldn’t be more different than Mancini’s after he was named Most Valuable Oriole and chosen as a Gold Glove finalist in right field.
The rest of the arbitration work already is done. The Orioles non-tendered Hanser Alberto and released Renato Núñez. Yolmer Sánchez signed for $1 million, Pedro Severino for $1.825 million, Shawn Armstrong for $825,000 and Pat Valaika for $875,000 (or $300,000 if he’s in the minors.)
Reliever Brad Brach was the last Oriole to go to a hearing, winning his case in 2017. Brach earned $3.05 million instead of the $2.525 million offered by the club. He made $1.250 million the previous summer.
The Orioles are 11-2 in hearings since Peter Angelos became majority owner, the only other loss coming against pitcher Ben McDonald in 1995.
General counsel H. Russell Smouse was 8-0 in hearings before retiring.
Update: The Orioles reached agreement with Mancini to avoid arbitration. He’ll receive the same $4.75 million.
No word on an agreement with Santander.
* The international signing period opens today. It usually begins on July 2, but the pandemic forced a delay.
This is like a second Christmas for the Orioles.
They’re going to sign their first two international amateurs to seven-figure bonuses. MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski reported that the club has agreements with eight players who will receive bonuses of $300,000 or more.
The Orioles are expected to announce 20 players, led by 16-year-old Dominican catcher Samuel Basallo and 17-year-old Venezuelan shortstop Maikol Hernandez, who are receiving a combined $2.5 million.
Baseball America wrote that the Orioles spent $260,000 on their entire 2016 international class and $535,000 in 2017. But they’re much more serious about their presence in the market.
* On this date in 2014, the Orioles signed reliever Alfredo Aceves to a minor league contract during their minicamp in Sarasota.
He didn’t pitch for them. Didn’t make it out of spring training with them. But he scared a few people.
Backing up a bit, I’ll always remember Aceves first for causing me to turn around and return to the complex after assuming my minicamp work was done. I checked my phone at a red light and saw the news of his signing.
Not the same as the previous day, when I walked through the clubhouse with another reporter while heading to former manager Buck Showalter’s office and spotted Delmon Young’s nameplate above a locker.
Showalter had to confirm the agreement with Young. What else could he do, besides question why the nameplate was put up?
(For the record, we were told to cut through the clubhouse rather than go around it.)
Anyway, Aceves brought his equipment bag and a reputation for having a volatile temper. The Red Sox suspended him for three games in 2012 for “conduct detrimental to the team” following a screaming match with his manager and a couple of slammed doors on his way out. He irritated the organization the following spring by lobbing balls during a live batting practice session.
The Orioles beat crew joked about trying to stay on his good side for survival purposes. And then one member of it sat in Aceves’ chair while conducting an interview with another pitcher, causing a few of us to motion frantically when Aceves walked into the room.
I thought there might be bloodshed.
Aceves opted out of his contract upon learning that he wouldn’t break camp with the team. We never could confirm whether Showalter really invited Sarasota police into his office while meeting with Aceves, but it made for a funny visual.
The Yankees signed Aceves on March 29, setting up a reunion with one of his former teams, and released him on Aug. 27. He never got back to the majors.