Los Angeles Dodges Arbiration

The Dodgers avoided arbitration with two of their brightest young players today by signing Jonathan Broxton and Andre Ethier to a duo of two-year deals. Let’s take a look at each situation.

Broxton is one of the best relievers in baseball. This represents his second year of arbitration, which means the Dodgers have set their price for his final arbitration-eligible season as well. Broxton will make $11M total. Papelbon is also in his second year of arbitration and he agreed to a new contract worth $9.35M. If the Dodgers motivation was to avoid an arbitration award similar to Papelbon’s $6.5M last season, then they did a pretty fantastic job.

Broxton has 317 career innings, a 2.92 ERA, and a 2.83 xFIP. Batters miss his pitches at a high frequency and when they do put it in play, it’s generally a groundball. He’s basically the perfect reliever. Even if you think WAR and the WAR-to-dollars translation generally leave high-leverage relievers undervalued, Broxton’s last three years average is around $9.3M. 60% of that is a little under $6M. And this is without noting that Broxton wasn’t a full-time closer until this season.

Ethier is actually in his second year of arbitration too, but he actually has an additional two remaining since he reached Super-Two status last year. He will make roughly $15M over the next two years, which works out to an average of ~$7.5M – or depending on the cost of a win, 1.5-to-2 wins – he’s been good for that every year of his Majors career. He turns 28 next season and it seems unlikely he’ll be -16 runs in the outfield again.

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13 Responses to “Los Angeles Dodges Arbiration”

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  1. DJH says:

    Perfect reliever?

    I wouldn’t go that far, unless you don’t use him much on the road, as his home/road splits are glaring:

    He was lights out at home in 2009 (45 IP 14 hits 9 walks .247 OPS), and not very good on the road (31 IP, 30 hits, 20 walks, .754 OPS)

    Career numbers reflect a similar trend.

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    • Michael says:

      Home/Road splits aren’t very good at determining anything. I would especially not put much weight, if any, on home/road splits for relievers who pitch one inning at a time.

      There’s a lot of regression that would need to be done on these numbers, enough to make the differences minimal.

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  2. odbsol says:

    At least try and get the title right.

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  3. The Nicker says:

    Where’s the article about how paying 9.5 for Papelbon this season is a huge ripoff when you can chain Bard, Okajima, and Delcarmen up the bullpen hierarchy and lose almost nothing?

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    • regfairfield says:

      Because Papelbon plus those guys makes the bullpen better? Oh no my wins per dollar.

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      • Joe R says:

        And that Papelbon, even in his “bad” 2009, was worth $8.8 mil worth of free agency.

        Why do people keep insisting that Dave Cameron & Co are against paying closers? They’re against paying mediocre closers long term contracts for some magic intangible level of clutch. Papelbon is good.

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  4. quincy0191 says:

    I don’t know if there’s something in the air in LA that makes players or their agents think they aren’t worth any money, but the Dodgers’ arb-eligible guys got absolutely taken. Kemp for 2/11, Ethier for 2/15, and Broxton for 2/11 is a steal for the Bums. They could have had serious problems signing a 4th and 5th starter if they hadn’t gotten this done; the McCourt divorce had so much potential….

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  5. Alireza says:

    Seriously, the Dodgers made out like bandits here. That Andre Ethier made less than Jeff Francoeur last year and is barely edging him out this year is criminal. Honestly, he really should think about firing CAA, IMHO. Broxton too is getting absolutely fleeced, given just how dominant he has been.

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  6. Johnny says:

    Kim Ng is outstanding.

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  7. You have a great article. I loved reading it very much. Thanks keep up the wonderful work.

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