Another look at arbitration-eligible Orioles

The Orioles must tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players by Dec. 2, assuming they can conduct business on that date. The collective bargaining agreement expires the previous day.

I yearn for the days when CBA made me think “Continental Basketball Association.”

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias has decisions pending on eight players - Trey Mancini, Anthony Santander, John Means, Jorge López, Pedro Severino, Pat Valaika, Paul Fry and Tanner Scott. MLBTradeRumors.com posted its annual salary projections, with raises naturally anticipated for everyone.

That’s how it works, no matter the level of production.

Mancini: $7.9 million ($4.75 million in 2021)
Santander: $3.7 million ($2.1 million in 2021)
Means: $3.1 million ($593,500 in 2021)
Severino: $3.1 million ($1.825 million in 2021)
López: $1.5 million ($586,750 in 2021)
Valaika: $1.3 million ($875,000 in 2021)
Fry: $1.1 million ($581,000 in 2021)
Scott: $1 million ($580,000 in 2021)

The first-timers are obvious with Means, López, Fry and Scott.

Mancini-HR-Swing-Black-WAS-Sidebar.jpgThe Orioles paid Mancini the same as his previous salary after he missed the 2020 season while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for Stage 3 colon cancer. They could sign him to an extension or try to move him as free agency approaches, but the big raise is coming.

Means is lined up for a nice one as well. The Orioles are going to pay their ace, but also do the responsible thing and listen to any trade offers.

It would require one heck of a proposal, considering the lack of experience and track records that follow him in the rotation. Trading him would contradict the desperate need to upgrade.

Santander, the Most Valuable Oriole in 2020, regressed this summer due to injuries that began with a sprained ankle in April. He drew some trade interest over the winter, the Marlins counted among the teams, but did the past season lower his value?

Santander lost his arbitration case last winter after his agent submitted $2.475 million. The club’s last hearing involved reliever Brad Brach in 2017.

“We have a file-to-go policy that I’ve been very consistent with since being here,” Elias said in January.

The Orioles are 11-2 in hearings since Peter Angelos became majority owner.

Valaika’s contract paid $300,000 in the minors. He’s certainly a non-tender candidate after the Orioles designated him for assignment in August and selected his contract the following month. He also could be removed from the 40-man roster again before the tender deadline.

Severino seems unlikely to return in 2022. Adley Rutschman should be the starter by May at the latest and the Orioles aren’t spending $3.1 million on a backup. They also need a defensive upgrade, if we’re being honest.

López could be on the tender bubble, but his improvement working out of the bullpen, and possessing the power arm they need, make him a fit. And at a reasonable cost.

Fry and Scott were no-brainers before the season and trade chips during it. Scott still seems likely to remain with the club. The Orioles can’t quit that fastball/slider combo. They need to be convinced that they can fix Fry, who lost command and didn’t pitch for them after Aug. 29.

Reliever Adam Plutko and infielder Richie Martin would have been on the arbitration eligible list. Plutko was outrighted and elected free agency after the season. Martin’s return to Norfolk denied him the opportunity.

* Today marks the nine-year anniversary of the Orioles’ Game 5 loss to the Yankees in the American League Division Series.

Nine years to argue whether Nate McLouth should have been awarded a home run on his fly ball to right field in the sixth inning.

The at-bat ended with McLouth striking out and the Yankees holding their 1-0 lead in a game they won 3-1.

The Orioles scored their only run in the eighth against CC Sabathia and loaded the bases with one out, but McLouth struck out and J.J. Hardy grounded out.

You could have given me 10 guesses on which Oriole drove in the run and I never would have remembered Lew Ford, who grounded a single into left field to score Matt Wieters.

I also forgot that Chris Davis played right field, with Mark Reynolds at first base.

That was a fun clubhouse.

The Orioles forced a fifth game by winning the previous night 2-1 in 13 innings. McLouth homered in the fifth. Manny Machado and Hardy doubled in the 13th to break the tie.

Eric Chávez pinch-hit for Álex Rodríguez with two outs in the bottom of the 13th and lined to Machado, giving Pedro Strop the win and Jim Johnson his second save.

Machado batted ninth behind second baseman Ryan Flaherty. They homered in Game 3 - the first pair of rookies to ever homer for the same team in the same postseason game. But I’m still hung up on Machado batting ninth.

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