If and when Juan Carlos Oviedo returns to the majors next season, he'll be paid handsomely for his pitching services. But it's a big "if" and an even bigger "when" for the pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez, who is continuing to work out his legal issues in the Dominican Republic and remains on the Marlins' restricted list.
But.....once Oviedo is cleared to return to the U.S. and works his way back onto the team's active list, he'll earn $6 million. That's the figure that he and the Marlins settled on before today's deadline for arbitration players. Oviedo is in his third and final year of arbitration. The team also avoided arbitration with Edward Mujica by agreeing to a contract with the reliever. But negotiations with their other two arbitration-eligible players -- Anibal Sanchez and Emilio Bonifacio -- did not result in an agreement before Tuesday's noon deadline. As a result, hearings will be held in February and an independent arbitor will determine each player's salary for next season.
The $6 million that Oviedo stands to receive will become Monopoly money if he doesn't make it back. He won't make a dime until he is activated, and the total amount will be pro-rated based on the actual time he spends on the big-league roster. But his agent told me that that is an "unlikely" scenario and they are "hopeful" Oviedo is cleared in time for Opening Day.
Oviedo pitched under an assumed name -- Nunez -- for years before his true identity was discovered last season.
His salary is very close to the $5.8 million figure that he was projected to receive by Major League Baseball Trade Rumors.