Kenley Jansen and A.J. Ellis both exchanged salary proposals with the Dodgers on Friday. Jansen, the dominating Dodger closer, submitted a $5.05 million salary proposal. A.J. Ellis, the starting catcher and friendly battery mate of Clayton Kershaw, is looking for $4.6 million in 2014.
Jansen is set to get a big bay raise from his salary of $512,000 last season. The Dodgers have offered a lesser proposal of $3.5 million. The 26-year old right-handed reliever had his most dominating season yet since coming up with the Dodgers back in 2010. Jansen finished 2013 with a great 1.88 ERA with 111 strikeouts and only 18 walks. That was good for a 6.17 SO/BB. He only allowed 6 homeruns over 76 2/3 innings pitched last year, and overall he has only served up 15 homeruns cumulatively over his 4 years in the Majors. He picked up a career high 28 saves last season after Brandon League fell from grace.
Jansen is feeling great after his heart procedure last offseason, and he proved that his rightful spot on the Dodgers was in late innings and critical game leveraged situations. He has become one of the premier relievers in the league, and if his case was to go to arbitration his representatives would surely stress his elite status now that the converted catcher has made a name for himself.
A.J. Ellis earned $2 million last season, and the Dodgers have proposed a salary of $3 million for a modest $1 million raise. A.J.’s proposal and the Dodgers’ offer is further apart than the two proposals for Jansen at 53.3%. $4.6 million seems high on A.J.’s part especially because he couldn’t repeat his success with the bat he had in 2012. The likable catcher is still an integral part of this Dodger team, and now that his buddy Clayton Kershaw has been signed long-term, I’m sure the Dodgers want to stick with A.J. for now. Yet I don’t see A.J. getting that full $4.6 million unless negotiations go until the deadline and arguments have to be heard in front of an arbitration panel next month.
Even though both players deserve a bump in pay, the Dodgers may be a bit more frugal in their negotiations now that they have
agreed to pay Kershaw a record-breaking $215 million over 7 years. Sure, these smaller pay figures seem like pennies compared to Kersh’s salary, but the Dodgers still want to cut costs wherever possible. After all, they still may not be done winter shopping. Masahiro Tanaka will cost the chosen team over $100 million, and the Dodgers still are looking to sign another infielder and possibly sign Hanley Ramirez to a new contract.
If the Dodgers can’t come to agreements with Jansen or A.J., then their cases would be heard at an arbitration hearing where one of the two proposals would be assigned as the player’s salary. The arbitration hearings are scheduled between February 1-20. The Dodgers could also still agree on a longer termed contract with either of the two players as well. Usually the two sides would come to an agreement somewhere in between the two proposals which would put Ellis at $3.65 million and Jansen at $4.275 million.