The Six Players Who Debuted Between April 12 – May 7
There is nobody in the group who was called up the minute they would have earned less than a full year of service time, but here are the six who got called up soon after without regard to Super-Two status (in order of their debut date).
Anthony Rendon, April 21: Rendon was the no. 6 pick in the 2011 draft and was rated no. 30 overall by BA going into 2013. At first blush, you might think that calling up Rendon a mere 10 days after the deadline for earning six years of service time reeks of service time manipulation. But it’s not as simple as that. Rendon was called up because the Nats’ regular 3B, Ryan Zimmerman, had gone on the IL. Rendon himself had been injury-plagued in 2012, only playing 43 MiL games (21 in AA with a .673 OPS there) after signing late in 2011 and not playing at all that season. Rendon didn’t set the world on fire in his first short stint in the majors, posting a .647 OPS in 8 games and being sent back to AA (where he had started the year) as soon as Zimmerman came off the IL. But he raked at AA upon return (1.136 OPS in 19 games), played three games in AAA and then got called up for good on June 5. If the Nats were trying to manipulate his service time to avoid Super Two status, they failed. He ended up earning 2.130 years of service through 2015, exactly at the cutoff line and earning his status as a Super Two. Rendon earned $2.8 mm in his first year of arbitration, then $5.8 mm, $12.3 mm and $18.8 mm. He then signed a 7 year, $245 mm deal with the Angels that was scheduled to pay him $26 mm in FA1 (it ended up being less due to the pandemic.
Verdict: I do not think his debut date was manipulated, as Rendon had very little minor league time and his initial call-up clearly related to Zimmerman’s injury. It could be argued that the Nats tried to manipulate his second call-up to avoid Super Two, but if so, they failed to wait long enough and that cost them millions.
Juan Lagares, April 23: An international signee who was never a top 100 prospect, Lagares had a .734 OPS in AA in 2012. He posted a .929 OPS in 17 games in the PCL before his call-up. He was paid $2.5 mm as a Super Two, then $4.5 mm, $6.5 mm and $9 mm in his fourth arbitration year. He had a terrible final year with the Mets (.605 OPS) and had to sign a minor league deal with the Padres in 2020.
Verdict: No manipulation.
Robbie Grossman, April 24: A 2008 6th round pick, Grossman had been BA’s number 76 prospect going into the 2012 season but was unranked in 2013 after a .786 OPS campaign in AA in 2012. Grossman had an .805 OPS in the PCL prior to his call up, then posted a .553 OPS in 28 games and was returned to AAA, where he stayed until the end of July. He’s had a somewhat successful journeyman’s career since then, earning 6.9 rWAR in his career but getting released twice and spending a good bit of time in the minors in 2014-16. He’s now earned his six years of service but was signed as a free agent three times before that.
Verdict: No manipulation.
Nolan Arenado, April 28: Arenado was a 2010 second round draft pick who was ranked the no. 52 prospect in MLB going into 2013. In 2012, he played the whole year at AA and posted an okay but not great .766 OPS. He began the 2013 season in the PCL and posted a 1.059 OPS there in 18 games and got called up. He never looked back, easily qualified as a Super Two, and earned $5 mm, $11.75 mm, and $17.75 mm in his first three years of arbitration. Before his final arbitration, he signed an 8 year, $260 mm deal with the Rockies.
Verdict: Not a strong case that his service time was manipulated, considering his so-so AA season in 2012.
Marcell Ozuna, April 30: An international signee, Ozuna was BA’s no. 75 ranked prospect in 2013 after posting .812/.805 in low A/Hi A in 2012. He started 2013 in Hi A, moved to AA after only 4 games, and crushed AA for a 1.193 OPS in 10 games and jumped to the majors. He stayed in the majors until a season ending injury on July 22, spent all of 2014 in the majors, then in 2015 got sent down on July 6 after posting a .638 OPS in the first 79 games, playing 33 games in the PCL with a .937 OPS before returning to the Marlins. He earned $3.5 mm, $9 mm and $12.25 mm in his three arb years, then signed a one-year deal with the Braves for $18 mm and is a free agent again this winter.
Verdict: No manipulation in the initial call-up. Would have been a Super Two after the 2015 season but for being sent to the minors for 33 games in July/August that year. Did the Marlins do that to avoid Super Two? Hard to say, but if so, they cut it close. He ended up with 2.124 years of service after the 2015 season; the cut-off turned out to be 2.130.
Carlos Martinez, May 3: An international signee, Martinez was BA’s no. 38 going into 2013 after 22 starts in hi A/AA in 2012, posting a 2.90 and 3.00 ERA at those stops. He made three starts in AA to begin 2013, then got called up to the Cardinals at age 21 and made it into 7 games as a reliever in May, before being sent down to AAA and resuming work as a starter. He bounced between the majors and the minors several times that season, sticking around as a reliever after the September call-ups. In all, he earned 73 days of service that year. He was in the majors for good in 2015, pitching as a reliever that year. After two successful years as a starter in 2015-16 and accumulating 3.070 years of service, Martinez signed a 5-year, $51 mm contract.
Verdict: No manipulation.
@Roll Tide He didn’t take 7.5M less than #2. That was the slot money. He accepted about 2M less but it was still more than he would have gotten if he went where people thought he would.
So, since this seems to be the basis of tour poor argument, you really should come up with new material.
Alberto and Nunez seemed like guys they'd consider bringing back if the cost came down. Until they are signed and gone, I think the door remains open.
edit: so the chance is as high as their willingness to sign cheaply.
anyone else think this talk of deferring salary on Santandar's arbitration makes it seem more likely that he is traded now for a less than satisfying return?
Its also starting to get really fishy financially. I've worked in business, and this seems to be either A) prep for a sale or B) They owe some serious money like yesterday and they are doing everything they can from going bankrupt because they feel like the ship can be straightened if they get through this "loss" period. I hope a sale of the team keeps the O's in Baltimore and has ownership that is willing to do more and better things than Anglelos.
Hanser Alberto was not non tendered because the O's did not like the person or the way he hit left-handed pitching. He was non tendered because they did not think his overall play was worth what he might get in arbitration. So with the free agent market slow and not much money being thrown around because of Covid limiting revenue, What is the chance that Alberto signs a minor league deal with the O's and is invited to camp?