Red Sox

McAdam: Salary arbitration hit won’t be nearly as big for Red Sox this winter

(Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox via Getty Images)

Unlike last year, when they had seven players eligible for salary arbitration --including Mookie Betts -- and saw their payroll leap more than $60 million due to the arbitration process, the Red Sox are far better positioned this time around when it comes to what impact the increases will have on their 2021 payroll. (The Sox, of course, reduced a good chunk of that payroll by trading Betts a month later).

This time, eight of their players will be eligible for arbitration this winter, but with these important caveats in place:  only two are expected to realize big increases in salary, and at least two others candidates to be non-tendered.

As it stands, here are the players who will qualify for salary arbitration:

  • Rafael Devers
  • Eduardo Rodriguez
  • Ryan Weber
  • Zach Godley
  • Jose Peraza
  • Kevin Plawecki
  • Austin Brice
  • Matt Barnes

Note: In August, the Red Sox traded one player -- Heath Hembree -- who would have qualified this winter, and last winter, signed Andrew Benintendi to a two-year deal that runs through 2021. He, too, would have otherwise been on this list.

The actual numbers will come into clearer focus soon when MLBTradeRumors publishes its annual projections, an exercise that has proven to be highly accurate.

From that above list, I would expect that both Peraza and Godley would be non-tendered.

Peraza was non-tendered last winter, too, by the Cincinnati Reds, which is how he became an affordable free agent for the Red Sox in the first place. Peraza was signed to a one-year, $2.85 million deal with the hope that the Sox were buying low and would control him for multiple seasons.

But after a great start on Opening Night, Peraza hit under .200 the rest of the way and found himself optioned to the team's alternate site in early September, never to return. He did little to interest the Sox in a second season -- and certainly not one inflated by the arbitration process. The Sox have other, cheaper alternatives in-house (Christian Arroyo, Yairo Munoz), and even if they wanted a more experienced play for the position, could likely find one on the free agent market.