Thursday afternoon served as the deadline for teams across the majors to agree to salary figures for their arbitration-eligible players to try and avoid a hearing that can potentially become contentious and ruin a player's relationship with their team.
Luckily for the Orioles, they were able to agree to salaries for 2024 with their most important arbitration-eligible players and avoid the hearing process with them.
Who did the Orioles agree to a contract for 2024 with among their arbitration eligible players?
The biggest name on the list is Anthony Santander. After making $2.1 million, $3.15 million and $7.4 million in his first three years of arbitration, Santander and the Orioles agreed to a $11.7 million contract for 2024, the last year of his contract before he can hit free agency at the end of the season.
Santander becomes the second highest-paid player on the Orioles roster with the agreement, trailing only Craig Kimbrel's $12 million salary. Catcher James McCann is also due $12 million this season, but with the Mets responsible for the majority of the salary, the Orioles will only have to pay him $4 million.
Santander is the Orioles best power bat and home run threat, as he and Gunnar Henderson were tied for the team lead in home runs last season with 28, and he's just one season removed from a 30-homer campaign in 2022 that also led the team.
After Santander, John Means and Cedric Mullins were the next best arbitration-eligible players left without a contract. The Orioles agreed to contracts with both, signing Mullins for $6.325 million and Means for $3.325 million to lock in their salaries for 2024.
Dillon Tate, who didn't pitch all of last season due to injury, agreed to a $1.5 million deal, keeping his salary the same from 2023. Lefty Cole Irvin, who was merely average in his first year with the Orioles, signed a $2 million deal for next year. The Orioles also signed Ryan Mountcastle for $4.137 million, Ramón Urías for $2.1 million, and Tyler Wells for $1.9625 million.
The Orioles couldn't agree to contracts with all of their arbitration-eligible players, however. Relievers Danny Coulombe, Jacob Webb, and Cionel Pérez could not agree with the team on a contract and will exchange salary figures before an arbitration hearing. 2023 revelation Ryan O'Hearn and outfielder Austin Hays also could not agree to a contract.
What happens next with those players is an arbitration hearing will be scheduled for some point during spring training most likely. The team and players can still negotiate terms to avoid what can become a contentious arbitration hearing, and the hope is that the Orioles can agree to terms with most, if not all five players who couldn't reach a deal on Thursday before their hearing dates.