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Yankees Hot Stove: Five file for salary arbitration

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As the Yankees' 2014 roster begins to take shape, the salary arbitration process begins today. Five Yankees have filed for arbitration and will be able to begin exchanging figures with the team on Friday. Those five include David Robertson, Brett Gardner, Ivan Nova, Shawn Kelley, and Francisco Cervelli. Of these five, Robertson and Gardner are in their last year of arbitration eligibility before free agency. Both Nova and Cervelli are eligible for the first time in their careers, and Kelley, as a Super Two, will go through his third season of arbitration, with one more to go.

Back in November, MLB Trade Rumors released their 2014 salary arbitration projections. The original seven eligible Yankees were cut to five when Jayson Nix was non-tendered and later signed with the Rays, and Chris Stewart was traded to the Pirates. The remaining were projected to make as follows:

Player 2013 Salary 2014 Salary (est.) Raise
Francisco Cervelli $515,350 $1.0 MM $484,650
Brett Gardner $2,850,000 $4.0 MM $1,150,000
Shawn Kelley $935,000 $1.5 MM $565,000
Ivan Nova $575,600 $2.8 MM $2,224,400
David Robertson $3,100,000 $5.5 MM $2,400,000
Total Hit Against 189 $14.8 MM

As you can see, Robertson, in his last year of arbitration, and Nova, in his first year, are in line for substantial raises. Despite their projected salaries, teams and players very rarely have to go to an arbitration hearing to determine their future salaries. Instead, both parties come up with numbers and then they agree on a salary somewhere in the middle that would make everyone happy. The only question is where the middle ground will be, and what they will base such valuation on.

Cervelli's injury-filled season that was capped off with a steroid suspension will likely harm his case in court, so the Yankees might be able to sign him to a much cheaper deal. They have yet to name Robertson as the closer, despite a lack of obvious competition. This has likely been done to limit his value in any arbitration case. Closers are valued much higher than middle relievers, so without the "Closer Stamp" D-Rob might have a harder time proving he should be paid like one.