Oakland A’s avoid arbitration with three players
By David Hill
The Oakland A’s managed to avoid arbitration with three players on Tuesday, signing each to a one year deal for the 2021 season.
While the Oakland A’s ten free agents have received a great deal of attention, that is not the only area of concern on the roster. The A’s also had ten players eligible for arbitration, further cutting into their available budget. With players such as Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, and Frankie Montas due to receive significant pay raises, their ability to spend on their roster will take a hit.
However, the A’s do have a bit of certainty when it comes to three of those players. On Tuesday, they agreed to terms with Burch Smith, Tony Kemp, and Chad Pinder, avoiding arbitration with that trio.
Smith will earn $705,000 for his first trek through the arbitration process. Acquired from the Giants in their first trade since 1990, Smith posted a 2.25 ERA and a 0.667 WHiP in 12 innings, striking out 13 batters with just one walk. However, injuries limited him to just six games last season. This deal indicates that the A’s feel he will be healthy and able to contribute in 2021.
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Kemp will earn just a shade over $1 million for 2021 in his first time through arbitration. He produced a .247/.363/.301 batting line in his 114 plate appearances, hitting five doubles and stealing three bases. Kemp did draw 15 walks with just 14 strikeouts and has spent time at second, left, and center. He is currently penciled in as part of the second base picture, but that could change.
His platoon mate, Pinder, will also be back in the fold. He will receive $2.275 million for 2021, and still has two more years of team control left. Pinder had a down year with the bat last season, producing a disappointing .232/.295/.393 batting line with two homers. However, his defensive versatility makes him extremely valuable to the A’s roster.
It is possible that other players will sign before their arbitration hearings. Trades or extensions can happen. Or these players can just agree to a one year deal, as the trio above had done. There is no guarantee that any of those other players will actually go to arbitration.
The Oakland A’s have at least avoided arbitration with three of their players. It is a good start towards figuring out their budget for the coming year.