Padres avoid arb with Pham, Lamet, 3 others

January 16th, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- In his tenure as general manager, A.J. Preller has never been to an arbitration hearing, and that streak will remain intact at least through 2021.

On Friday, San Diego agreed to contracts with all five of its remaining arbitration-eligible players, the team announced.

According to sources, those deals are worth: $8.9 million for outfielder , $4.2 million for right-hander , $1.57 million for right-hander , $1.3 million for catcher and $850,000 for right-hander .

Friday marked the deadline for both parties to exchange proposed salary figures. Had the Padres been unable to agree to terms with any of those players, an arbitration hearing would have been scheduled to determine their salaries.

Clearly, Preller would prefer to avoid that. Since he took over as general manager in 2014, the Padres haven't been to a single arbitration hearing, settling with every eligible player.

This year, Pham's case was the most intriguing of the bunch. A year ago, he agreed to a $7.9 million figure for 2020 (which ended up being pro-rated due to the pandemic-shortened season).

But Pham spent most of the 2020 season battling injuries and didn't live up to the lofty standards he'd set. The outfielder batted just .211 with a .624 OPS. After the season, he was the victim of a scary stabbing incident that led to surgery, and he also underwent a procedure on his balky left wrist.

Nonetheless, the Padres tendered Pham a contract in December, and they expect him to be fully healthy by Spring Training -- and a force in the middle of their lineup in 2021. Pham is slated to become a free agent after the season.

Lamet was also an interesting case, before he settled at $4.2 million. The right-hander hit arbitration this winter having made only 47 big league starts. But he became one of the sport's most dominant pitchers in 2020, posting a 2.09 ERA while finishing fourth in National League Cy Young Award voting.

As a "Super Two" player last season, Lamet settled on a $1.3 million deal, and his near-$3 million raise is noteworthy for a pitcher with two seasons of arbitration remaining. Lamet is not slated to become a free agent until after the 2023 season.

Like Lamet, Pagán, Caratini and Altavilla have three years of control remaining. But unlike Lamet, they were each arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter.

Pagán could compete for the Padres' closer role, depending on who else the Padres add to their bullpen this winter. Meanwhile, Altavilla will vie for a middle-innings role, while Caratini -- who arrived last month in the Yu Darvish trade as Darvish's preferred backstop -- figures to serve as the team's backup catcher.

and -- the two other players on the roster who were arbitration-eligible this winter -- settled on salaries weeks ago.

Clevinger agreed to a two-year deal worth $11.5 million, and will make $2 million in 2021 as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery. He will be a free agent after the 2022 season.

Strahm received a $2.05 million deal for 2021 and is also eligible to hit free agency after the 2022 season.