Six Twins File For Salary Arbitration
The Twins and their six arbitration-eligible players submitted contract figures Tuesday, including first-timers Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer.
Morneau is seeking $5 million for 2007, a $4.14 million raise from the $385,000 he was paid in 2006. After hitting .321 with 34 home runs and 130 RBIs, the Canadian Crusher was awarded the American League's MVP award. The Twins have offered Morneau $4 million and the two sides are continuing negotiations on a long-term contract for the invaluable 25-year-old first baseman.
The club is also trying to lock up Mauer, the Major Leagues' leading hitter to a long-term deal. The All-Star catcher was paid $400,000 in 2006 and is seeking $4.5 million for 2007 while the Twins have offered $3.3 million.
There is an even bigger gap between Minnesota's $3.3 million offer to Michael Cuddyer and the $4.25 million that the outfielder is asking. Cuddyer and the Twins avoided arbitration last year by agreeing to a one-year, $1.3 million contract with incentives. They certainly got their money's worth out of one of the team's most clutch hitters.
After making $425,000 last year, utility outfielder Leeeeeeew Ford wants a raise to $1.3 million while the Twins are offering him $800,000. Reliever Juan Rincon, who made $700,000 last season, is seeking $2.4 million while Minnesota has offered $1.6 million.
Nick Punto, who made $690,000 last season, is also arbitration-eligible for the second consecutive year. The third baseman submitted a $2.1 million number while the Twins' offer is for $1.6 million.
These six players were paid a combined $3.9 million in 2006. The Twins' are offering a $14.3 million in all while the players are seeking $19.55 million for 2007. The two sides can continue to negotiate a contract until their scheduled hearing begins sometime in February, when a panel of three arbitrators will select one of the two salary figures submitted. Their decision is binding.
As a fan, I sincerely hope some of these players are kept happy and paid what they deserve. Surely, there are other teams out there willing to pay much, much more for their services.
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