Big League Stew

Big pay raises for Max Scherzer, Chris Davis headline arbitration deadline day

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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(USA Today)

Friday was arbitration deadline day around baseball, which means teams, agents and arbitration eligible players had one final day to exchange salary figures to be used in the event the sides can’t reach an agreement before hearings begin in February.

Of course an agreement didn't necessarily need to be reached on Friday to avoid a hearing. A contract can be signed at any time between now and their hearing date, but it’s often the point where all parties decide they’re tired of the process and are ready to iron out a short-term deal.

Now, we freely admit it’s not what you'd call a thrilling 24-48 hour period as the headlines and figures tend to get a bit repetitive and the signings are just formalities since the players remain under team control, but it’s in an active time and it can be interesting to see how certain players are valued.

With that in mind, here's a quick look at some of the most significant deals that were struck.

Max Scherzer: one-year, $15.525 million with Detroit Tigers

In his first and only year of arbitration eligibility — he’ll be a free agent next winter — reigning American League Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer cashed in big on his 2013 success. According to CBS Sports Jon Heyman, Scherzer will earn $15.525 million, which is up from his $6.725 million salary last season. Scherzer earned the raise by winning an AL-best 21 games and posting a 2.90 ERA with 240 strikeouts in a career-high 214 innings.

Basically, he pitched like the top-of-the-rotation guy many expected him to be out the University of Missouri, which makes the upcoming season interesting for Detroit. With free agency looming and Scott Boras salivating at the thought of Scherzer hitting the open market, everything from a long-term contract to a trade will likely be considered in Detroit’s front office.

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(USA Today)

Chris Davis: one-year, $10.35 million with Baltimore Orioles

The "Crush" Davis nickname is going to stick for awhile after the Orioles slugger exploded with an MLB-best 53 home runs to go along with 42 doubles and 138 RBIs. Simply put, Davis was an offensive monster, becoming only the third player ever to top 50 homers and 40 doubles in the same season. After earning $3.3 million last season, Davis receives a $7 million raise based on his power production, and he figures to earn a lot more money going forward if the production keeps rolling in.

Davis, 27, has one year of arbitration remaining.

Jordan Zimmermann: two-years, $24 million with Washington Nationals

The Nationals and Zimmermann remain a ways off on a long-term deal, but both sides agreed to buy out his final two years of arbitration at what appears to be a fair price for both sides. Per the agreement, Zimmermann will earn $7.5 million this season and $16.5 million in 2015 before hitting free agency the following winter. There had been talk that Washington would look to trade Zimmermann if no long-term was reached this winter, but that appears to be off the table in the short-term with the two-year agreement.

Zimmermann, who tends to fly under the radar nationally, is coming off a fabulous season in which he posted an NL-best 19 wins and posted a 3.25 ERA in 213 innings. That lines up pretty close to his career 3.40 ERA in 113 career starts, so the consistency has been there for the 27-year-old right-hander. Should it continue, he'll be in a good position to cash in sometime before 2016.

• Ian Desmond: two-years, $17.5 million with Washington Nationals

As with Zimmermann, the Nationals have locked up Desmond's final two years of arbitration ($6.5 million in 2014 and $11 million in 2015). A long-term deal remains in play for the 28-year-old shortstop after he posted consecutive 20/20 seasons while hitting .280 and .292 respectively.

The Nationals also avoided arbitration with reliever Drew Storen (one-year, $3.45 million) and catcher Wilson Ramos (one-year, $2.095 million) on deadline day. Both contracts will include incentives for games played in 2014.

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(USA Today)

Giancarlo Stanton: one-year, $6.5 million with Miami Marlins

Stanton settles for $900,000 less than Miguel Cabrera's team record $7.4 million for a first-time arbitration eligible player. It's a favorable deal for the Marlins as Stanton would obviously command a lot more money on the open market or in a long-term deal. Of course, by the time Stanton finally earns top dollar everybody anticipates it will be anywhere other than Miami, but even still he probably could have asked for and received more in arbitration had he pursued it.

Consider it Jeffrey Loria's lucky day.

Other notable signings

• Pedro Alvarez: one-year, $4.25 million with Pittsburgh Pirates
• Brett Gardner: one-year, $5.6 million with New York Yankees
• Chase Headley: one-year, $10.525 million with San Diego Padres
• Jeremy Hellickson: one-year, $3.625 million with Tampa Bay Rays
• Eric Hosmer: one-year, $3.6 million with Kansas City Royals
• Austin Jackson: one-year, $6 million with Detroit Tigers
• Chris Johnson: one-year, $4.75 million with Atlanta Braves
• Kris Medlen: one-year, $5.8 million with Atlanta Braves
David Robertson: one-year, $5.215 million with New York Yankees

As for the notable players who didn't reach a deal, Jon Heyman fills us is on the arbitration numbers filed.

Here's another from Yahoo's Jeff Passan.

Arbitration hearing dates will be set for those who haven't reached a deal, but negotiations can and likely will continue in most cases.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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