Kyle Gibson is the only one of six Twins players that did not agree to a contract around Friday’s deadline to exchange salary proposals. The other five in that group — Eduardo Escobar, Ehire Adrianza, Robbie Grossman, Trevor May and Ryan Pressly — got their one-year pacts done before the weekend.
Gibson, the lone holdout, could be headed to an arbitration hearing with the Twins. If that happens, it would be the first time Minnesota has needed an arbiter since they disagreed with Kyle Lohse over what the starting pitcher should be paid in 2006. Of course, the Twins and Gibson could still come to terms before it ends up in a court room. Friday’s deadline is not a hard one for settling contracts, just to exchange salary figures between the team and the agents for arbitration-eligible players.
The raises push the Twins’ 2018 payroll to about $100 million, factoring in roughly $5 million that Gibson should earn. Last year’s opening day payroll was $108 million, according to Baseball Prospectus.
Gibson made $2.9 million last season in his first year of arbitration. He was awful to start the season, got demoted to Triple-A — twice — and his final numbers don’t look exceptional. But it should be noted that Gibson was a much better pitcher after the all-star break.
The Twins were 10-2 in Gibson’s final 12 starts, and more importantly to this discussion, the righty had a 3.57 ERA to go with a 22% strikeout rate and 6.2% walk rate in those dozen starts. If those 12 outings represent the real Gibson, anything close to his projected $5.3 million salary will be a bargain.
Here are the salaries of the five players announced by the Twins, compared with the October projected salaries from MLB Trade Rumors.
|Player||MLBTR Projection||Actual 2018 salary|
Source: Twins and MLB Trade Rumors.
Final note: Darren Wolfson, a frequent 1500ESPN contributor, has reported that new Twins Director of Baseball Ops Daniel Adler is in charge of arbitration cases, after years of Assistant GM Rob Antony heading the charge. Adler holds a JD/MBA from Harvard and worked in the league Labor Relations department before he joined the Twins. Wolfson’s speculation is that the Twins would be willing to go to court this year to show future arbitration candidates that they’re willing to do it. Whether or not they’ll do that this year with Gibson, though, remains to be seen.