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A’s agree to terms with all remaining arbitration-eligible players for 2021

Matt Chapman, Mark Canha, and 4 others settle their salaries

Arizona Diamondbacks v Oakland Athletics
Arbitration bash!
Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The Oakland A’s entered the offseason with 10 players eligible for salary arbitration, and they tendered contracts to all of them. That meant the players were committed to the team, but at dollar amounts to be determined later.

Those salaries have now been settled. Four of them were taken care of in early December, and then on Friday the A’s agreed to terms with the other six eligible players. (Clink links for sources, including Bob Nightengale of USA Today and insider Robert Murray.)

That’s a total of $26.9775 million. The median estimates had pegged this group at around $23 million, but Chapman blew away his projection in his first tour through arbitration. MLB Trade Rumors had him somewhere between 2.9-4.3, while Roster Resource split the difference at 3.6, but the superstar nearly doubled that latter figure. That’s especially relevant moving forward, since future arby salaries in 2022 and 2023 will be based on the precedent set here, so this sets a higher bar than anticipated for his following two years as well.

Manaea and Bassitt also finished around a half-million each over their midlevel expectations, though both stayed within the ranges that MLBTR suggested.

The other four arbitration-eligible players, who agreed to terms a month ago, were Matt Olson, Chad Pinder, Tony Kemp, and Burch Smith.

Payroll update

This latest set of numbers gives us slightly more clarity regarding the A’s current payroll, though it’s slightly bad news since they came in over their projections. There are now 13 players under contract.

  • Khris Davis: $16.75m
  • Stephen Piscotty: $7.58m
  • Mark Canha: $6.925m
  • Matt Chapman: $6.49m
  • Sean Manaea: $5.95m
  • Matt Olson: $5m
  • Chris Bassitt: $4.9m
  • Jake Diekman: $4m
  • Chad Pinder: $2.275m
  • Frankie Montas: $1.8m
  • Tony Kemp: $1.05m
  • Lou Trivino: $0.9125m
  • Burch Smith: $0.705m

That adds up to just over $64.3 million. Add minimum salaries for the other 13 spots on the active roster, for pre-arbitration players from Ramon Laureano to Sean Murphy to whoever gets the final bullpen job, and that’s another $8 million or so.

Bottom line

Put it all together, and Oakland’s current payroll is in the neighborhood of $72 million, or probably a hair over that. If you think they’ll sign a couple free agents, then you could factor that in by removing that many minimum-salary placeholders, making it more like “$71 million plus two free agents.”

Of course, this information only gives us half the picture. There’s still the crucial question of what the budget will be for 2021. Is $72 million the final number? Is there more money available to add a new player? Do they need to reduce it by trading someone away? We know for sure where they’re at now, but still not where they plan to be in March.