One of the most active times of the baseball season are the weeks leading up to the start of Spring Training. Teams are trying to come to terms with their arbitration-eligible players, which can lead to some interesting negotiations.
While the list of players signing deals continues to grow by the minute, there are a number of notable stars who have yet to come to terms with their teams. It doesn't mean anything good or bad, just there are still financial terms to be worked out on both sides.
Here are the latest rumors surrounding some of the top arbitration-eligible stars and where things stand just two weeks away from the start of spring training.
Chase Headley, 3B, San Diego Padres
Chase Headley had a breakout 2012 season that saw him finish fifth in the National League MVP voting. He hit .286/.376/.498 with 31 home runs, 115 RBI, 17 stolen bases and providing very good defense at the hot corner.
When the arbitration figures were released, Headley was reportedly asking for $10.3 million and the Padres countered with $7.075 million.
Nearly two weeks later, and progress hasn't really been made. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the two sides have talked about a long-term deal, but that doesn't seem likely.
Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal
#Padres have also talked multi-year with Headley, but deal unlikely. Headley asked for $10.3M in arbitration. Club offered $7.075M.1/28/2013, 8:47:00 PM
For a team that has a good young nucleus coming through the minors, the Padres would be wise to do what they can to keep Headley happy as long as they have him. His power numbers, which spiked in the second half of the season, might not be sustainable in 2013, but he has proven capable of being a good hitter for average and getting on base.
David Freese, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals
The World Series hero from 2011, David Freese proved that his breakout October wasn't a fluke last season. He hit .293/.372/.467 with 20 home runs in 144 games in 2012.
There was a rather large gap between Freese and the Cardinals when the two sides exchanged numbers. He was reportedly asking for $3.75 million and the team countered with $2.4 million.
If a hearing is necessary, I think the Cardinals would be lucky to come out ahead. Freese played at an All-Star level last season—not to mention his postseason heroics the previous season—so an arbitrator is likely to look at his numbers quite favorably.
Jordan Zimmermann, SP, Washington Nationals
It is a good time to be a Nationals fan. The team had the best record in the National League last season, upgraded a position of need this offseason by adding Denard Span and will have full seasons from Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg.
One of the key cogs in that potentially-dominant rotation is Jordan Zimmermann, who is looking for $5.8 million in arbitration, which the team countered with $4.6 million.
Given Zimmermann's recent comments (via Washington Post), it doesn't sound like anything is coming soon.
He said that arbitration is "a fun little process." While there is not a lot of speculation out there about what is going to happen, we know the Nationals will want to get their No. 3 starter signed, sealed and delivered soon to put all the pieces of their deep pitching staff on the field.
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