clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Yasmani Grandal 2017 salary arbitration preview

New, 231 comments

Grandal has two arbitration years before he is eligible for free agency

NLCS - Chicago Cubs v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Three Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Salary arbitration season is nearly upon us, with the filing and exchange dates set for next week. In advance of those dates, we will preview the six Dodgers eligible for salary arbitration this winter, beginning with the most expensive of the group — catcher Yasmani Grandal.

With four years, 115 days of major league service time, Grandal is eligible for salary arbitration for a second time. He avoided arbitration in 2016, signing a one-year deal worth $2.8 million.

This year, the arbitration filing date is Tuesday, Jan. 10 and the exchange date is Friday, Jan. 13, the latter with players and teams swapping salary figures. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement, an arbitration hearing will be heard at some point between Jan. 30 and Feb. 17.

Last year we looked at a group of five catchers comparable to Grandal in both performance and service time in recent years. Wilin Rosario’s move to the Korean Baseball Organization trims our group by one, but here is a comparison.

Grandal comparable catchers (career)

Catcher Years Service PA HR BA/OBP/SLG OPS+ wOBA wRC+ rWAR fWAR Salary
Catcher Years Service PA HR BA/OBP/SLG OPS+ wOBA wRC+ rWAR fWAR Salary
Yasmani Grandal 2012-2016 4.115 1,660 67 .238/.348/.428 118 0.340 119 8.7 9.1 TBD
Welington Castillo 2010-2015 4.009 1,447 46 .251/.316/.414 99 0.320 100 8.7 8.0 $3,700,000
Jason Castro 2010-2014 4.104 1,515 40 .243/.316/.399 98 0.315 98 7.3 6.2 $4,000,000
Wilson Ramos 2010-2014 4.047 1,277 46 .269/.317/.432 104 0.325 104 5.8 6.5 $3,550,000
Alex Avila 2009-2013 4.061 1,769 51 .254/.350/.420 108 0.339 110 9.0 8.3 $4,150,000
Matt Wieters 2009-2013 4.129 2,610 87 .255/.319/.420 99 0.322 97 13.1 14.2 $7,700,000

The problem in finding comparable catchers is that many of the most productive backstops signed long-term contracts well before arbitration, exchanging some financial security for below-market rates through their arb years and, in some cases, beyond. Jonathan Lucroy (2012) and Yan Gomes (2014) both signed long-term deals when they had under two years of service time, and Sal Perez (2012) signed a deal before he even reached a full year.

So it’s difficult to pin down a true comp for Grandal, who did lead all major league catchers in home runs (27) and walks (64) in 2016, and is an elite pitch framer.

I added Matt Wieters to the list of comparable players more as an upper limit. He has better career numbers than Grandal through four years of major league service, but Grandal had a better season.

Here is a look at Grandal’s comparable catchers in their launch season before heading into arbitration for a second time.

Grandal comparable catchers (single year)

Catcher Year Service PA HR BA/OBP/SLG OPS+ wOBA wRC+ rWAR fWAR Salary Prev. $ Increase
Catcher Year Service PA HR BA/OBP/SLG OPS+ wOBA wRC+ rWAR fWAR Salary Prev. $ Increase
Yasmani Grandal 2016 4.115 457 27 .228/.339/.477 121 0.350 122 2.8 2.9 TBD $2,800,000 TBD
Welington Castillo 2015 4.009 350 19 .243/.306/.476 107 0.321 98 1.1 1.2 $3,700,000 $2,100,000 76.19%
Jason Castro 2014 4.104 512 14 .222/.286/.366 84 0.291 86 1.8 1.6 $4,000,000 $2,450,000 63.27%
Wilson Ramos 2014 4.047 361 11 .267/.299/.399 91 0.306 93 0.9 1.5 $3,550,000 $2,095,000 69.45%
Alex Avila 2013 4.061 379 11 .227/.317/.376 88 0.310 92 0.8 0.5 $4,150,000 $2,950,000 40.68%
Matt Wieters 2013 4.129 579 22 .235/.287/.417 90 0.302 86 0.6 2.6 $7,700,000 $5,500,000 40.00%

The average salary for the five catchers above is $4.62 million. If we apply the average increase of 53% to Grandal, that would mean a $4.28 million salary for 2017. Using the largest increase of 76.19% (Welington Castillo), Grandal would be at $4.93 million.

2017 guess

Matt Swartz at MLB Trade Rumors projected a 2017 salary of $5.3 million for Grandal. I think the number will be slightly less, at $5 million even, but again this is a difficult comp.