Dayan Viciedo reached the end of his four-year, $10 million contract, which has led to plenty of confusion and crossed wires as people try to figure out the White Sox's roster situation and financial obligations for 2013.
For instance, in Mark Gonzales' last mailbag of the year published on Monday, a reader wrote, "Looks like Dayan Viciedo will be gone" as part of a larger question. In part of a larger response, Gonzales said:
Contrary to what has been written in the past in other places, Dayan Viciedo is arbitration eligible and under the Sox’s control.
The "in other places" is curious wording, because the Tribune's three baseball writers have each framed the expiration of his current contract in a different light.
Dave Van Dyck, Jan. 17: "In some ways, this is a make-or-break season for Viciedo, who turns 23 in March. He is in the final year of the original four-year, $10 million deal he signed after leaving Cuba. If he produces, he gets a big-time contract; if he struggles, his career will be in jeopardy and the Sox may decide that Cespedes or Soler is the future, if either signs with them."
Phil Rogers, Oct. 2: "Dayan Viciedo faces a tricky contract situation as his four-year, $10-million deal has expired and he is in line for either another multi-year deal or a pay cut, as he is not yet eligible for arbitration."
Gonzales, Oct. 9: "Contrary to what has been written in the past in other places, Dayan Viciedo is arbitration eligible and under the Sox’s control."
None of these quite get it right. And my understanding of it (which was close to Rogers') was incomplete, too, because Viciedo will actually be in line for a small raise. Here's what it looks like:
Viciedo is not yet eligible for arbitration. He will reach his first arbitration year in 2015 -- unless he qualifies for Super 2 status. That seems unlikely, because he has accumulated 1.123 years of service time. Gordon Beckham's service time also ends with ".123" and he didn't come close to last year's cutoff of 2.146 years.
The bar was set to lower some with the new CBA, but not that much. The sports agency CAA, which nailed last year's Super 2 cutoff well in advance, projected the new line last month:
The updated projected 2013 arbitration Super 2 cutoff is service time of 2 years, 139 days #MLB— CAA Baseball (@CAA_Baseball) September 13, 2012
This won't apply to Viciedo, but it's worth noting that if the line holds, Viciedo's 2.123 years of service time will have only qualified for Super 2 status in one of the last seven seasons. The Sox have to like those odds.
Until Viciedo hits arbitration, the Sox can go year to year. To figure out what this means for 2013, this is where we bring in Jeff Samardzija, who signed a pro contract out of the draft and fell into a similar pre-arb limbo state when the Cubs declined his 2012 option.
Samardzija, who is not arbitration eligible, will remain with the team for at least four more years unless he's released or traded.
Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, Samardzija's salary can not be cut more than 20 percent from his 2011 salary.
The former Notre Dame All-American receiver signed a five-year, $10,250,000 deal after being drafted by the Cubs in the fifth round in 2006.
Samardzija made $2.8 million in 2011, and with a 20 percent cut, he'll make $2,640,000 in 2012, including a $400,000 pro-rated signing bonus from a contract he signed in 2006.
Viciedo is eligible for the same 20 percent reduction, but it won't result in a pay cut due to his signing bonus, which is distributed equally throughout the length of the contract when figuring out his 2013 salary, regardless of how it was paid out.
In Samardzija's case, he lost a little bit of money, but not the full 20 percent. He signed a five-year contract with a $2 million signing bonus, which is where that $400,000 comes into play. The 20 percent reduction knocked him down to $2.24 million, but that $400,000 pushed his 2012 salary to $2.64 million, resulting in only a 6 percent reduction.
With Viciedo, his four-year contract included a $4 million signing bonus, or $1 million per year (math!). Under the CBA, that prorated bonus is factored into his base salary for 2012 ($2.5 million). Cutting 20 percent from that sum ends up in a raise in the neighborhood of $300,000 for 2013.
Of course, the Sox theoretically could work out a multi-year to deal to buy out his arb years and maybe a year of free agency, but that kinda went out of the window when he switched from Jaime Torres to Scott Boras, so pffffffffffffffffffffffft.