Orioles preparing for arbitration hearing with Santander

The Orioles have ceased negotiations with the representatives for outfielder Anthony Santander and are preparing for an arbitration hearing next month.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias confirmed the team’s stance this afternoon on a Zoom conference call with the local media.

Both sides reached the 1 p.m. deadline without an agreement. Salary figures will be exchanged and a hearing date will be set for next month.

“We have a file-to-go policy that I’ve been very consistent with since being here,” Elias said. “I mean, it hasn’t been that long. So with us not having been able to reach agreement today with him - which is OK, it’s part of the process, this happens - we will be proceeding to arbitration.”

The Orioles are 11-2 in hearings since Peter Angelos became majority owner. Reliever Brad Brach is the most recent case, winning in 2017.

Santander-Points-After-HR-White-Sidebar.jpgSantander was chosen Most Valuable Oriole last season after slashing .261/.315/.575 with 13 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 32 RBIs and 24 runs scored in 37 games, his season ending after he sustained an oblique injury. He also was a finalist for a Gold Glove in right field.

The 2020 contract would have paid Santander $572,500 prior to the COVID-19 shutdown. MLBTradeRumors.com projected a raise this year to $1.7 million.

The important point is that Santander is under team control. However, there’s always a risk of some animosity building from the hearing process.

Trey Mancini avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $4.75 million contract, the same deal as 2020, according to an industry source. The club announced an agreement, but not a salary.

Mancini was MVO in 2019, but didn’t play last season after a diagnosis in March of Stage 3 colon cancer. Mancini underwent surgery, completed his last chemotherapy treatment on Sept. 21 and has been working out with an eye toward the first day of spring training.

Santander’s play in right field is expected to push Mancini to first base. Mancini also could be used as the designated hitter with Renato Núñez a free agent following his release.

A truncated season complicated the salary evaluation process, with counting stats down for teams playing only 60 games. Determining an appropriate raise was open to interpretation.

“It’s definitely an unknown element,” Elias said. “It has, it seems like across the industry, from what we’re hearing and seeing, created some extra space for people to maybe not be speaking the exact same language just because of how strange the shortened season was. I think that was to be expected and it’s definitely a factor.”

The rest of the arbitration work already is done. The Orioles non-tendered Hanser Alberto. 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.)

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