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Oakland A’s settle all but one arbitration case

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Khris Davis is now the highest-paid player in A’s history.

These guys combine for over 22 MILLION dollars.
Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s entered January with seven players still eligible for salary arbitration. After agreeing to terms with reliever Ryan Buchter on Thursday, they settled with five more players on Friday, the team announced. The only remaining case is for closer Blake Treinen.

Here are the most recent arbitration settlements:

  • DH Khris Davis: $16.5 million (Heyman)
  • SS Marcus Semien: $5.9 million (Nightengale)
  • 2B Jurickson Profar: $3.6 million (Murray)
  • LHP Sean Manaea: $3.15 million (Feinsand)
  • OF Mark Canha: $2.05 million (Murray)
  • LHP Ryan Buchter: $1.4 million (Slusser)

The biggest news here involves Khrush. First off, agreeing to this one-year deal does not preclude the chance to continue negotiating a multi-year extension, so this news doesn’t necessarily affect that quest one way or other. All it means is that he now has a 2019 salary locked in and won’t have to go to another arbitration hearing like he did a couple winters ago.

What Khrush’s agreement does achieve is setting his market. As the Athletics Nation community debates about potential terms for an extension, we’ve been using his $18 million estimate (from MLBTR) as a baseline. That turns out to have been a notable overestimate, which means we can now adjust our expectations of what his future long-term contract might be worth.

As for the others, they are all right around their estimates. Semien and Manaea came in a bit under, and Profar a bit over, but none by more than a million. Canha and Buchter were within 100K of theirs.

Here is the updated payroll, with these new figures included:

Oakland A's 2019 payroll
Name Pos $M
Khris Davis DH 16.5
Stephen Piscotty OF 7.3
Joakim Soria RHP 6.5
Mike Fiers RHP 6.0
Marcus Semien SS 5.9
Yusmeiro Petit RHP 5.5
Fernando Rodney RHP 5.3
Jurickson Profar IF 3.6
Sean Manaea (DL) LHP 3.2
Liam Hendriks RHP 2.2
Mark Canha OF 2.1
Ryan Buchter LHP 1.4
Josh Phegley C 1.1
Chris Herrmann C 1.0
Ryan Dull RHP 0.9
Arbitration estimates
Blake Treinen RHP 5.8
Other stuff
10 more players -- 7.5
Moss buyout -- 1.0
TOTAL -- 82.8

Note: Due to various rounding errors and generous estimates for pre-arb players, the real total might be closer to an even $80 million.

According to insider Jane Lee, that salary for Khrush is the highest single-season outlay for any player in A’s history, beating out Eric Chavez’s $12.5 million back in 2010. Granted, salaries have risen around the league over the last decade, but clearly not in Oakland given how long it took to break Chavez’s record. Interpret that as you will as a statement about the team’s evolving attitude toward its present/future budget, and/or their love of Khrush specifically.

As for Treinen, he might be headed toward a hearing to determine his 2019 salary, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. The last player they went to a hearing with was Kendall Graveman last winter, and the team won that case against a low-salary role player. However, the year before that, they lost a case against Khrush, who like Treinen was a rising star whose key stat (HR for Khrush, saves for Treinen) tends to be overvalued in the arbitration process. That was the only time the A’s have lost an arby hearing since before Billy Beane became GM in 1997, but it does have some similarities to Treinen’s situation.

Update: Treinen and the team have exchanged figures, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Treinen asked for $6.4 million, and the A’s countered with $5.6 million.