In addition to J.T. Realmuto, Didi Gregorius, Jay Bruce and other free agents this offseason, the Philadelphia Phillies will have to determine how they want to proceed with their seven arbitration-eligible players, some of whom are among the longest-tenured players in the team.
Normally, MLB Trade Rumors publishes one typically accurate projection of how much each arbitration-eligible player will ultimately receive. This year, the system is thrown off a bit by the fact that 2020 was only a 60-game season and to this point, the belief is that 2021 will be a full 162-game season.
To account for the uncertainty, Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors created three separate projection models for 2021, one that looks strictly at the 60-game statistics, a second that projects the 60-game statistics out to 162 games and a third that gives players in their second or third year of eligibility 37% of the raise they would normally receive. He goes deeper into the models in his article.
Here are the projections for the seven arbitration-eligible Phillies, and whether the team is ultimately likely to tender them an offer:
Vince Velasquez: Projected arbitration salaries of $3.8 million, 4.8 million and $4.0 million in 2021
Over the course of a 162-game season, Velasquez was scheduled to make $3.6 million in 2020. He looked downright dominant in summer camp, giving some hope that 2020 would be the season he finally put things together. Instead, it was much of the same for the 28-year-old, as he posted a 5.56 ERA and 4.16 FIP in nine games, seven of which were starts. Phillies Nation‘s Ty Daubert examined why the team may want to bring him back as rotation depth in 2021, but he may benefit from a change of scenery via a trade. It’s also possible the Phillies non-tender Velasquez and attempt to re-sign him for a lower price.
Rhys Hoskins: Projected arbitration salaries of $3.4 million, $5.5 million and $3.4 million in 2021
As Phillies Nation‘s Jonny Heller noted, Joe Girardi’s squad was 22-19 with Hoskins in the lineup in 2020, and just 6-13 without him. Hoskins slashed .245/.384/.503 with 10 home runs, 26 RBIs and 29 walks in 41 games in 2020, so it’s a no-brainer to tender him a deal. Hoskins had surgery to repair the UCL in his left elbow earlier this month, a procedure that came with an estimated recovery time of four to six months. The team hopes he’ll be good to go for opening day 2021.
Zach Eflin: Projected arbitration salaries of $3.3 million, $5.5 million and $3.7 million in 2021
The Phillies are certain to tender Eflin a deal, as he had the best season of his career in the shortened 2020 campaign. In 11 games, 10 of which were starts, Eflin went 4-2 with a 3.97 ERA and 3.39 FIP. He may very well open up 2021 as the team’s No. 3 starter.
Heath Hembree: Projected arbitration salaries of $1.9 million, $2.2 million and $1.8 million in 2021
In 11 starts after being acquired from the Red Sox, Hembree posted a 12.54 ERA, making him a near automatic non-tender this offseason. Perhaps if he’s willing to accept a minor league deal with an invite to spring training there could be a reunion, but there’s no chance that he comes back on a guaranteed major league contract.
Adam Morgan: Projected arbitration salaries of $1.8 million, $2.0 million and $1.7 million in 2021
The three-batter minimum really hurt Morgan, as he was a tremendous LOOGY, but saw right-handed hitters hit .364 off of him in 2020. He was probably going to be non-tendered anyway, but considering that he’s now out six to nine months after having flexor-tendon surgery on his left elbow, he’s a lock to be non-tendered. If Girardi has his way and the three-batter minimum doesn’t return, Morgan could be an interesting midseason addition to the bullpen. But it’s entirely possible that one of the longest-tenured Phillies has put on the red pinstripes for the final time.
Andrew Knapp: Projected arbitration salaries of $1.2 million, $1.5 million and $1.0 million in 2021
It’s unlikely that Knapp gets his second opening day start at catcher in 2021 – even if J.T. Realmuto departs in free agency – but he’ll certainly return for his fifth season with the team. Knapp slashed .278/.404/.444 with two home runs and 22 RBIs in 2020. After two consecutive poor seasons, Knapp was probably one of the 10 best offensive catchers in baseball in 2020.
Seranthony Dominguez: Projected arbitration salary of $900,000 in 2021
The Phillies will definitely tender Dominguez a deal, right? Once thought to be a core piece for the Phillies, Dominguez hasn’t pitched since June of 2019. Dominguez had successful Tommy John surgery late in July of 2020, so he may miss all of 2021, but there’s an outside chance he’s ready to join the team late in the season.
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