Seven Royals players were among 156 major-leaguers to file for salary arbitration Tuesday, a procedural move that starts the process toward determining 2016 contracts.
Generally, players with three or more years of major-league service time, but fewer than six, are eligible for arbitration. For the Royals, center fielder Lorenzo Cain, third baseman Mike Moustakas, outfielder Jarrod Dyson, left-handed pitcher Danny Duffy, catchers Drew Butera and Tony Cruz and right-handed reliever Louis Coleman were eligible and filed.
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Cain, Moustakas, Dyson, Duffy and Cruz are in their second of three arbitration years. Butera is eligible for arbitration for a final time before becoming free-agent eligible this offseason. Coleman is eligible for the first time after making $725,000 last season.
The Royals settled with Cain, Moustakas, Dyson and Duffy — as well as first baseman Eric Hosmer and right-handed reliever Kelvin Herrera — last offseason before arbitration hearings started. If an arbitration case goes to a hearing, a three-person panel decides whether to grant the player’s or team’s salary offer for the season. Figures will be exchanged between teams and players this week.
Last season, Cain made $2.725 million, Moustakas $2.64 million, Duffy $2.425 million and Dyson $1.225 million after agreeing to one-year contracts before arbitration. Hosmer and Herrera agreed to two-year contracts, also avoiding arbitration this offseason. Butera accepted a $987,500 contract from the Los Angeles Angels, and Cruz agreed to a $775,000 deal with St. Louis before last season.
New Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman could file the highest salary request after earning $8,075,000 last season with Cincinnati unless he settles with New York before Friday’s exchange of figures. American League MVP Josh Donaldson also filed. He lost his case last year and made $4.3 million while leading the Toronto Blue Jays to their first playoff appearance since 1993.
Cy Young Award winners Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs and Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros also filed. Keuchel could be in for a big raise after earning slightly more than the major league minimum of $507,500 last season, when he went 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA. Arrieta earned $3.63 million and pitched a no-hitter among his 22 wins.
Hearings will be scheduled for the first three weeks in February in Phoenix.
Teams went 8-6 last year, giving them a 301-221 record since arbitration began in 1974. There were just three hearings in 2014 and none in 2013.