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Arbitration panel rules in favor of Marlins, sets $2.9 million salary for J.T. Realmuto in 2018

The talented catcher is now even more valuable as a trade asset.

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

After previously reporting Justin Bour’s victory in arbitration, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports passes along disappointing news for catcher J.T. Realmuto. Coming off a career year, he’ll only take home $2.9 million in 2018, regardless of whether he plays for the Marlins or another team.

Like Bour, Realmuto was eligible for an arbitration raise for the first time. He comes up $1.3 million shy of the $4.2 million that MLB Trade Rumors had projected for him at the start of this offseason. His representatives at BBI Sports Group were making a case for a $3.5 million salary.

As MLBTR’s Matt Swartz explains, the process generally emphasizes old-school analytics:

Another quirk to the arbitration process is that it usually only factors in “baseball card statistics” rather than more sophisticated metrics. While teams signing free agents are typically up to speed on sabermetrics, the arbitration process does not account for them. Counting stats are important, as is playing time in general.

With that in mind, the following figures likely influenced the arbiters’ decision:

Platform year stats: .278 BA, 17 HR, 65 RBI, 8 SB, 579 PA

Career stats: .280 BA, 38 HR, 169 RBI, 28 SB, 1,621 PA

Realmuto was already considered the Fish’s best remaining trade asset. This news only adds to that desirability, as it sets a lower baseline for his raises over the next two years of arbitration eligibility.

According to Spotrac, the Marlins now have $76,337,142 in salary commitments for this season when accounting for Friday’s outcomes with Bour and Realmuto. Dan Straily’s case is scheduled for Feb. 14.