Arbitration Should Be Easy

By MJ Lloyd

With only four players eligible for arbitration, Jerry Dipoto and the Angels shouldn’t lose much sleep worrying about the process. Kendrys Morales, Alberto Callaspo and Jerome Williams take another shot at arbitration while Kevin Jepsen gets his first taste of the action.

Also, good at high-fiving (Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE)

Last season was a little more complicated. Dipoto faced the final arbitration years for Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick before signing the middle infielders to four-year deals. Morales, Callaspo and Williams avoided arbitration with one year contracts. While the arbitration cases are occasionally interesting, MLB continues to ignore my suggestions to invigorate the process by using the Press Your Luck board instead of archaic statistics. No whammies again this year but MLB Trade Rumors has the price tags all but figured out…

Kendrys Morales ($4.8MM)
Morales is due for a raise from the $2.975MM he made in both 2011 and 2012 since he actually, you know, played some baseball. After missing nearly two season due to a tragic slip and fall on home plate, Morales mainly DH’d his way to 22 home runs and a .273/.320/.467 line. Finally healthy, Morales will likely get another chance will the Angels before hitting free agency after the 2013 season.

Alberto Callaspo ($4.2MM)
Callaspo will also get a raise for his final shot at arbitration even though his production at the plate dropped from 2011. Callaspo’s .288/.366/.375 line and 3.7 fWAR (Fangraphs wins above replacement) made him the third (tied anyway) most valuable third baseman in 2011. The .252/.331/.361 line and 2.7 fWAR placed him 13th in 2012 behind Pedro Alvarez, a two true outcome player. Luckily for Callaspo, the third base market is thin and he’s gots to get paid.

Jerome Williams ($1.9MM)
Williams is arb eligible for the second time after avoiding it in 2011 by signing a one-year, $820,000 contract with the Angels. After a lackluster and injury hampered 2012, Williams is a non-tender candidate. His value ranged from a 1.1 fWAR to -0.3 WARP (Baseball Prospectus) to -0.4 rWAR (Baseball-Reference). Two million might be too much for a replacement level type pitcher even if he’s a nice story. Maybe he’d take less money with some performance bonuses.

Kevin Jepsen ($1.1MM)
This is the year Jepsen become a dominant force in the Angels bullpen. Is something I say every year. I don’t know if the 28-year-old will ever get his strikeout rate and walk rate to optimal levels in the same season but he sure does throw hard. Just give Jepsen and his 99 mph fastball with movement the $1.1 million and hope it comes together.