The A's have 12 players who are eligible for arbitration this offseason, which could lead to some difficult decisions.
MLB Trade Rumors has released its annual arbitration projections for every team in MLB. Here are the salary figures they expect for Oakland:
Marcus Semien - $13.5 million
Blake Treinen - $7.8 million
Jurickson Profar - $5.8 million
Liam Hendriks - $5.5 million
Mark Canha - $4.9 million
Sean Manaea - $3.5 million
Robbie Grossman - $3.3 million
Chris Bassitt - $2.8 million
Josh Phegley - $2.2 million
Ryan Buchter - $1.8 million
Chad Pinder - $1.8 million
Jharel Cotton - $800k
Right off the bat, it appears that the A's will have four strong non-tender candidates: Blake Treinen, Jurickson Profar, Robbie Grossman, and Ryan Buchter. Josh Phegley is another possibility, though he is expected to return.
As dominant as Treinen was in 2018, the A's can't afford to take a $7.8 million gamble on a 31-year-old who struggled with his performance and injuries this season. Liam Hendriks overtook Treinen as the closer and is a much better bargain at an estimated $5.5 million.
As we detailed on Tuesday, Profar is a strong trade or non-tender possibility for a couple of reasons. The 26-year-old had a mostly disappointing season in 2019, both at the plate and in the field. With Sheldon Neuse, Jorge Mateo, and Franklin Barreto all waiting in the wings, not to mention Chad Pinder, Profar isn't worth bringing back at nearly $6 million.
Grossman could be a decent fourth outfielder option, but $3.3 million seems a little pricey, especially with Chad Pinder and possibly Seth Brown filling that role. The A's also have Dustin Fowler and Skye Bolt for depth purposes.
Buchter posted respectable numbers as a left-handed relief specialist, going 1-1 with a 2.98 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in 45 1/3 innings. However, he will lose a great deal of value next season when pitchers must face a minimum of three batters. That means he will have to face more right-handed hitters, a group that has given him significant trouble throughout his career.
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Not surprisingly, Marcus Semien is in line for the biggest raise of anyone on the team. The 29-year-old is projected to earn $13.5 million next season, more than double his $5.9 million salary this year.
Semien certainly earned that raise, slashing .285/.369/.522 with 33 home runs, 43 doubles, 92 RBI, and 123 runs scored, while playing phenomenal defense at shortstop. The only question is whether the A's will sign Semien to an extension, as he is due to become a free agent after the 2020 season.
Mark Canha, Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt, Chad Pinder, and Jharel Cotton should all be no-brainers to return at their respective salary projections.