SF Giants avoid arbitration with four players

Curt Casali and Mike Yastrzemski
Curt Casali and Mike Yastrzemski / Denis Poroy/GettyImages

In the hustle and bustle of a rushed transaction period since the MLB lockout ended, with plenty of big free agent signings and trades around the Majors, the deadline for coming to an agreement with arbitration-eligible players without exchanging salary desires for the arbitration hearing passed Tuesday. In typical fashion, the SF Giants came to agreements with their remaining players eligible for arbitration and avoided having to go to a hearing to determine the salary that often leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the player.

Only certain players are eligible for salary arbitration, according to MLB.com:

"Players who have three or more years of Major League service but less than six years of Major League service become eligible for salary arbitration if they do not already have a contract for the next season. Players who have less than three but more than two years of service time can also become arbitration eligible if they meet certain criteria; these are known as "Super Two" players."


Some players, generally the most talented young stars and sometimes players who haven't played in the Major Leagues yet sign longer contracts to wipe away some or all of their arbitration eligibility. Most players get incremental raises from one year to the next in arbitration.

The Giants locked up their last four arbitration-eligible players, with one signing a two-year deal and the other three agreeing to contracts just for 2022.

The biggest news was Darin Ruf signing a two-year deal with a team option for 2024. Ruf would have been eligible for arbitration in 2023 and become a free agent before the 2024 season, so the Giants have locked him up through the arbitration years and possibly for the year after.

The other players, as the Giants announced on Twitter, were catcher Curt Casali, outfielder Mike Yastrzemski and right-handed pitcher Dominic Leone.

Casali, the backup to Buster Posey in 2021, was excellent behind the plate to carry value for the team despite hitting .210 with five home runs in 200 at-bats. He's lined up to backup or split time with Joey Bart in 2022, though he could take the lion's share of the work donning the tools of ignorance if the Giants decide Bart isn't ready for the full-time position.

Yastrzemski is the grandson Baseball Hall-of-Famer Carl

Yastrzemski broke out with the Giants in 2019 and 2020 after toiling in the minor league system of the Baltimore Orioles for five years. His 2021 was a down year; after batting .281 with 31 homers in 161 games in 2019-20, Yastrzemski dropped to a .224 average with 25 home runs in 2021.

After bouncing around the Majors (playing for five teams from 2014-2020), Leone found a home in San Francisco with a 1.51 ERA in 57 relief appearances; he allowed just two home runs in 53 2/3 innings pitched.

According to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, Ruf's deal was $6.25 million for the first two years, Casali received $2.6 million for 2022, Yastrzemski $3.7 million and Leone $2.25 million.