Athletics

MLB arbitration projections: Salary figures for 12 A's candidates

MLB arbitration projections: Salary figures for 12 A's candidates

The A's have 12 players who are eligible for arbitration this offseason, which could lead to some difficult decisions.

MLB Trade Rumors has released its annual arbitration projections for every team in MLB. Here are the salary figures they expect for Oakland:

Marcus Semien - $13.5 million
Blake Treinen - $7.8 million
Jurickson Profar - $5.8 million
Liam Hendriks - $5.5 million
Mark Canha - $4.9 million
Sean Manaea - $3.5 million
Robbie Grossman - $3.3 million
Chris Bassitt - $2.8 million
Josh Phegley - $2.2 million
Ryan Buchter - $1.8 million
Chad Pinder - $1.8 million
Jharel Cotton - $800k

Right off the bat, it appears that the A's will have four strong non-tender candidates: Blake Treinen, Jurickson Profar, Robbie Grossman, and Ryan Buchter. Josh Phegley is another possibility, though he is expected to return.

As dominant as Treinen was in 2018, the A's can't afford to take a $7.8 million gamble on a 31-year-old who struggled with his performance and injuries this season. Liam Hendriks overtook Treinen as the closer and is a much better bargain at an estimated $5.5 million.

As we detailed on Tuesday, Profar is a strong trade or non-tender possibility for a couple of reasons. The 26-year-old had a mostly disappointing season in 2019, both at the plate and in the field. With Sheldon Neuse, Jorge Mateo, and Franklin Barreto all waiting in the wings, not to mention Chad Pinder, Profar isn't worth bringing back at nearly $6 million.

Grossman could be a decent fourth outfielder option, but $3.3 million seems a little pricey, especially with Chad Pinder and possibly Seth Brown filling that role. The A's also have Dustin Fowler and Skye Bolt for depth purposes.

Buchter posted respectable numbers as a left-handed relief specialist, going 1-1 with a 2.98 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in 45 1/3 innings. However, he will lose a great deal of value next season when pitchers must face a minimum of three batters. That means he will have to face more right-handed hitters, a group that has given him significant trouble throughout his career.

[RELATED: Oakland mayor Schaaf confirms A's could relocate to Vegas]

Not surprisingly, Marcus Semien is in line for the biggest raise of anyone on the team. The 29-year-old is projected to earn $13.5 million next season, more than double his $5.9 million salary this year.

Semien certainly earned that raise, slashing .285/.369/.522 with 33 home runs, 43 doubles, 92 RBI, and 123 runs scored, while playing phenomenal defense at shortstop. The only question is whether the A's will sign Semien to an extension, as he is due to become a free agent after the 2020 season.

Mark Canha, Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt, Chad Pinder, and Jharel Cotton should all be no-brainers to return at their respective salary projections.

A's top prospect ranking: Why Austin Beck comes in at No. 9 overall

A's top prospect ranking: Why Austin Beck comes in at No. 9 overall

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine the top 10 prospects in the A's organization. For each player, we will provide a scouting report and a realistic timetable for reaching the major leagues, as well as what he needs to do to stay there.

No. 9 - Austin Beck, OF

The A's remain very high on Beck, and why shouldn't they? Oakland drafted the outfielder No. 6 overall out of high school in 2017 and he has shown flashes of his potential already.

Beck is still just 20 years old and coming off a solid season at High-A Stockton. In 85 games, he slashed .251/.302/.411 with eight home runs, 22 doubles, and 49 RBI. The previous year, he posted an even better .296/.335/.383 slash line at Class-A Beloit as a 19-year-old.

"He's got the ability to make contact to all fields," A's assistant general manager/director of player personnel Billy Owens told NBC Sports California earlier this year. "He's got power that's going to come to prominence as he rises through the organization and gets to the higher levels."

Beck has also displayed terrific defensive ability, both in center and right field. MLB Pipeline rates him as a strong fielder and thrower of the baseball, with above-average speed as well.

Said Owens: "He definitely can defend center field, he's got a powerful throwing arm, he's got a swing that can manipulate the baseball and go to all fields, and the raw power is definitely in there. So he's got a chance to be a five-tool player."

Beck will likely spend the majority of the 2020 season at Double-A Midland. If he performs well there, he figures to get a shot at Triple-A Las Vegas in 2021 and could potentially make his major league debut late that year, or in 2022.

[RELATED: A's prospect rankings: No. 10 -- Nick Allen]

For the moment, the A's have a lot of depth in the outfield, but that could certainly change by the time Beck is ready for the big leagues. Mark Canha is set to become a free agent after the 2020 season, while Chad Pinder is already entering his arbitration years.

If Beck can continue to develop his power stroke, while simultaneously improving his all-around approach at the plate, his natural speed and athleticism should put him in position to become an impact player for the A's in the not too distant future.

A's top prospect ranking: Why Nick Allen comes in at No. 10 overall

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A's top prospect ranking: Why Nick Allen comes in at No. 10 overall

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine the top 10 prospects in the A's organization. For each player, we will provide a scouting report and a realistic timetable for reaching the major leagues, as well as what he needs to do to stay there.

No. 10 - Nick Allen, SS/2B

The A's selected Allen out of high school in the third round of the 2017 MLB Draft and he is beginning to develop into the shortstop they hoped he would be. At just 5-foot-9, the 21-year-old is far from imposing physically, but he is a defensive wizard.

Allen has tremendous range and a cannon for an arm, with MLB Pipeline assigning him a 65 fielding rating on the 20-80 scale and an arm grade of 60. There has never been any question about his defensive ability, which is already MLB quality. Now he's beginning to show improvement at the plate as well.

Allen struggled in 2018 at Class-A Beloit, slashing just .239/.301/.302 in 121 games. But this past season at High-A Stockton, that slash line shot up to .292/.363/.434, with improved power numbers across the board.

Allen also has above-average speed, with a 60 rating from MLB Pipeline. He stole 37 bases in 193 games over the past two seasons.

Allen can play shortstop and second base, both potential positions of need for the A's in the near future. Marcus Semien is set to become a free agent after the 2020 season and Jurickson Profar is far from a sure thing to return. Youngsters Jorge Mateo, Franklin Barreto, and Sheldon Neuse could also be options at the middle infield positions, but Allen has a great chance to earn a spot down the road.

Realistically, Allen doesn't figure to join the A's until at least 2021, with 2022 seeming more realistic. He just turned 21 earlier this month and has yet to play a single game above High-A.

Allen will likely start the 2020 season at Double-A Midland, with an opportunity to move up to Triple-A Las Vegas, based on his performance. If he continues to progress offensively, he could certainly earn a major league call-up at some point in 2021.

[RELATED: Why A's should move on from Grossman]

Allen has already added some strength, which has been reflected in his increased productivity at the plate. He will need to continue his work in the weight room, without losing his speed, which should be his biggest weapon offensively.

While Allen will never be a power-hitter, he can use his speed to wreak havoc on the basepaths. If he maintains his magical defensive prowess, he has an opportunity to develop into a solid major leaguer for Oakland.