American League MVP Josh Hamilton and National League MVP Joey Votto were among the 119 players who filed for salary arbitration yesterday.
Hamilton earned $3.25 million last season and is in his second year of eligibility, while Votto is arbitration-eligible for the first time. Jon Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer spoke with a few agents about Votto’s arbitration case and the general consensus is that he will ask for $8.5-9.5 million, with the Reds countering at around $7 million.
Maury Brown from Biz of Baseball has a complete list of players who have filed, divided by team.
Teams and players now have until Monday before salary figures are exchanged. We should see quite a few signings between now and then, so keep it here for the latest.
The Red Sox signed catcher Christian Vazquez to a three-year, $13.55 million extension, per a team announcement on Saturday. The agreement will keep Vazquez under contract through the 2021 season and covers two years of arbitration eligibility and the catcher’s first year of free agency. It comes with a $7 million club option (and $250,000 buyout) for 2022 that could get bumped up to $8 million if he reaches 502 plate appearances in both 2020 and 2021. Vazquez has also volunteered to make an annual donation to the Red Sox Foundation as part of his new arrangement with the club.
The 27-year-old backstop is entering his fourth year with the Red Sox in 2018. He’s been a steady defender behind the dish over the last three years and was ranked fifth-best in defense among all American League catchers at the end of the 2017 season. He also enjoyed a breakout performance at the plate, slashing a career-best .290/.330/.404 with five home runs and a .735 OPS in 345 plate appearances.
Come Opening Day, Vazquez is expected to be the Red Sox’ primary option behind the plate, with veteran Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart poised to start in backup roles. Swihart is out of options, but has been groomed for a utility role this spring and could take a few reps in the left field and the infield corners if need be, as it doesn’t appear the club is prepared to trade him just yet.