Phillies tender contracts to 7 arbitration-eligible players
By Matt Rappa
The Phillies will not non-tender any of their seven arbitration-eligible players.
All seven arbitration-eligible Philadelphia Phillies players have either been signed to one-year deals for the 2021 season — thus avoiding arbitration — or have been tendered contracts.
Along with the previously reported signings of right-handed reliever Seranthony Dominguez and catcher Andrew Knapp, the following three right-handed Phillies pitchers also are being brought back on one-year deals: Zach Eflin, David Hale, and Hector Neris.
Fellow right-hander Vince Velasquez and first baseman Rhys Hoskins, meanwhile, have been tendered contracts. They are the only two of the team’s seven arbitration-eligible players who did not yet agree to one-year deals; next, them and the Phillies will try to agree on a figure by January 15, or will otherwise head to an arbitration hearing in February. This is when both sides would submit a desired salary figure, and arbitrators will determine the player’s 2021 salary.
The announcement comes on the evening of the non-tender deadline; arbitration-eligible players across the league who were not extended at least a non-guaranteed offer are now deemed “non-tendered,” immediately making them free agents. The Phillies did this last year with infielders Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco. The team’s former third baseman reportedly was non-tendered for the second consecutive offseason on Wednesday, this time by the Kansas City Royals. No Phillies player was non-tendered this offseason.
So far, we know that Dominguez signed for $727,500 to return on a one-year deal in 2021; Knapp for $1.1 million; and Neris for $5 million. MLB Trade Rumors projected Dominguez would have earned $900,000 in arbitration, Knapp an average of $1.23 million, and Neris an average of $5.5 million. Therefore, the Phillies made out on at least two of the contracts.
Later in the evening, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that Hale signed for $850,000, while NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury reported Eflin signed for $4.45 million.
Hoskins is projected to earn between $3.4 million and $5.5 million, and Velasquez between $3.8 million and $4.8 million.
It was a no-brainer for the starting pitching-depleted Phillies to tender contracts to Eflin and Velasquez; they are set to complement Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler in the rotation, barring multiple free-agent or trade acquisitions. The versatile Velasquez will serve as a cheap option and can be used both out of the rotation and the bullpen, as needed. Also, The Athletic’s Meghan Montemurro notes the team’s new pitching coach, Caleb Cotham, can help him “yield more consistency” on the mound.
Hale and Neris will return as bullpen pieces, but surely will be joined by several new faces as the team looks to revamp the group that pitched to a near all-time-worst ERA in 2020. Dominguez may not pitch at all in 2021 due to him having Tommy John surgery in July.
Knapp, meanwhile, will likely return as at least the backup catcher.