Yankees avoid arbitration with Joba, Robertson


The Yankees avoided arbitration with Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson by agreeing to one-year contracts, the team announced. Joba received approximately $1.675M (per Jon Heyman) his second time up for arbitration, a slight raise from the $1.4M he made last year. He would have cleared $2M if it wasn’t for the Tommy John surgery. Robertson signed for $1.6M with another $25k in incentives (per Heyman) his first time up for arbitration, a big raise from his near-league minimum salary.

Noon ET today was the deadline for teams and their eligible players to file arbitration salaries, and the trio of Russell Martin, Boone Logan, and Brett Gardner remain unsigned. Hearings start in February, but the two sides can still agree to a contract at any time. Here are MLBTR’s salary projections, if you’re curious. Phil Hughes agreed to a one-year deal and avoided arbitration yesterday.

Update: Heyman says Gardner filed for $3.2M while the Yankees filed $2.4M. They’ll probably split the difference and call it a deal, but Gardner’s arbitration case isn’t all that great because he’s a defense-first guy, and that doesn’t pay.

Update Part II: Heyman says Martin filed for $8.2M while the Yankees countered with $7M. Russ actually holds the salary record for first and second time eligible catchers. This is his fourth year of arbitration eligibility as a Super Two.

Update Part III: Jack Curry says Logan filed for $2.1M while the Yankees countered with $1.7M. Logan has a pretty decent arbitration case because of his low ERA (3.20 as a Yankee) and high strikeout rate (9.3 K/9 as a Yankee).

Categories : Asides, Transactions


  1. vin says:

    I’m surprised Robertson got more than Joba got last year (his 1st time as arbitration-eligible). I agreed with you, Mike, when you said that Joba’s starting experience would earn him more than a guy who’s strictly been a reliever. Good for Dave.

    • chriskeo says:

      Wondering how much the All-Star appearance was “worth”

      • vin says:

        Or maybe just the fact that he was one of the 3 or 4 best non-closing relievers in the game last year. Things like all-star appearances and Cy Young/MVP votes probably benefits the player when it makes it to arbitration. I’m assuming the Yankees are basing his value more off what he did relative to his peers.

  2. Johnny says:

    Meh, I’m not especially sure why Robertson is making less than Chamberlain. Sure, Chamberlain was pretending to be a starter there for a little while, but I would take Robertson over him any day. Seems like the Yankees should be wetting D-Rob’s beak a little more than that.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Joba is a year ahead of him in service time.

    • vin says:

      The Yankees wait until guys become free agents, before they wet their beaks. Until that point they do what pretty much every other team middle-high market team does: pay overslot for guys they really want to draft, spend good money on foreign talent, and negotiate industry-standard salaries for guys who are arbitration-eligible with the hope of avoiding the painful arbitration process.

      Overpaying for free agents can benefit the Yankees (players are more likely to come to NY). But overpaying for guys they already have under team control doesn’t make any sense. That’s why no team does it.

  3. GardnergoesYardner says:

    I actually thought DRob would get more than Joba, but even I considered it a stretch. The season Robertson had was once in a lifetime, and I’m sure the Yankees reccognized that. Robertson has been one of my favorite players since his callup in 2009, and I’m glad that he finally got to excel as the setup man.

  4. Plank says:

    That leaves Russ Martin, Brett Gardner, and Boone Logan.

    • Plank says:

      MLBTR has the projected salaries next year at:

      Martin 6.7MM
      Gardner 3.3MM
      Logan 1.6MM

      Not exhaustive, but it seems like most players have been signing for slightly higher than their projected raises.

      • Plank says:

        I could see Martin signing a 2-3 year deal this offseason. Next year has a ton of catchers hitting the market, so I could see Martin wanting to avoid that. I highly doubt Romine will be ready to be the primary catcher in 2013.

        • Needed Pitching says:

          I wonder what a 3 year deal would take, maybe 22-25M?
          Anyways, better to do it now than wait until he’s a free agent and has more leverage..

        • YankeesJunkie says:

          If the Yankees were able to sign him to 3 year contract that would be beneficial for the long term for the Yankees. He is a solid back of the line up hitter, good defensive catcher, and still young. Maybe he would get closer to 3/30-35 than what you are proposing,but the idea is good. However, the Yankees will most likely wait until he is a free agent.

  5. Darren says:

    Just to get a little nit-picky, you mean that this is Robertson’s first time being arbitration eligble, right? Not his first time through arbitration, since that was avoided.

    Who was the last Yankee to actually go through the full process without thge sides settling before the arbitrator made his decision?

  6. Will (the other one) says:

    I’m a little surprised the team didn’t come closer to Gardner’s asking price. Given that he was a 4-5 WAR player last year and projecting a similar season this year, that number’s a pretty good steal using even conservative dollar amounts for marginal wins.

    • candyforstalin says:

      it’s not about value. it’s about the arbitration process.

      • Will (the other one) says:

        Indeed it is, but it’s also about the value a franchise places on an eligible player. I’m not saying the team acted improperly or anywhere outside of its rights, but it does surprise me that they didn’t take an easy (and cheap) opportunity to show a little more goodwill toward a player who’s become pretty important within the organization and its plans moving forward.

  7. aRX says:

    I’d like to think that an above average bat, elite defense and near 50 steals a year would make for a strong arb case. Unfortunately, I doubt arbitrators even know what WAR is.

    • Needed Pitching says:

      not sure Gardner qualifies as an above average bat, but otherwise I agree with you, it seems like Gardner would have a solid case

      • aRX says:

        Well, he had a 120 wRC+ in 2010 sandwiched around a couple of near-exactly avergae years (career 105), so maybe I’m a bit more optimistic about 2012 than others.

        • Needed Pitching says:

          including basestealing/baserunning, he’s an above average offensive player, but for bat alone, he’s slightly below average (career 91 OPS+)
          I believe wRC+ includes stolen bases

    • choochoo says:

      an above average bat? Are you even remotely serious? Quote some offensive stats which make him above average. I’ll quote you just one—a .713 OPS.

      • vin says:

        I don’t really disagree with you, but…

        Brett had a .330 wOBA last year vs. a .316 mlb average. wOBA is a much better indicator of offensive output than simply OPS.

        Having said that (Curb’d), most of Gardner’s value is derived from his glove and his legs.

        In fact, I’d love to see a study where someone determines the biggest (and least) discrepencies between a player’s WAR and wOBA. Would be interesting to see which players get the most value despite (or because of) their bat.

  8. Whizzo the Wize says:

    Whizzo is not sure how Whizzo would react to making a million bucks in a year for the first time.

    Whizzo imagines bourbon would be involved, though.

    Congrats D-Rob, you earned your payday.

  9. YankeesJunkie says:

    Signing Gardner a long term contract, five years, could be extremely beneficial for the Yankees considering that valuation of him seems to be lower than it may be in the next few years. Not to mention position players are more stable than pitchers.

    • choochoo says:

      take a look at his production against lefties–especially last year–and be honest with yourself about his value/potential in being an above average offensive and full time player

      • Needed Pitching says:

        He’s already been an above average offensive player (including basestealing and baserunning). Even if he was just average, the addition of elite defense makes him a very valuable player. Even if he were used as a strict platoon player (not absolutely necessary given his non-hitting contributions), he still provides a lot of value
        Runs saved count just as much as runs produced

      • YankeesJunkie says:

        The value of a Brett Gardner does not stem from his value as being above average offensively. However, just saying that last year he was bad against lefties is enough data to say he was bad against lefties is not true considering he was average against them for the previous two years. In addition, most of his at bats come against right handers anyway as with most everyday players. Not only that where Gardner’s value really comes into play is his stellar defensive as he has been elite in LF for the last the three years. So if the Yankees are say able to sign him to a five year 35 million dollar contract he could be a replacement level bat, but his defense would easily cover the cost of the contract. Another point is the last three years have shown that he is above replacement level, takes walks, steals at high enough percentage, takes the extra base to be just that more valuable. It would not be surprising to see Gardner get 20 WAR in a 5 year period which would be worth 90-120 million dollars depending on inflation which makes him a valuable target especially since it would be a contract through his prime years. So yes, while last year he was bad against lefties, he was not abysmal, and still productive in other areas to make up for that and be a valuable asset even if the Yankees put in a right handed OF for some of those tough lefties which they would do they same with Granderson as well. Gardner has easily surpassed the level of being considered a player that can play 130-150 games per year barring serious injury and not only being good, but near elite although done differently than say a Granderson or Tex.

  10. Monterowasdinero says:

    Gardy can be frustrating but there is way too much upside to argue against him. Although 28, he only has about 2 full seasons of experience. His speed will be a factor for 5 years at least. He can play all 3 outfield positions if ever needed-yes he could play as good a rf as Swish-, his bunting is improving and he takes a ton of pitches which takes a toll later in the game.

    Lock him up when possible.

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