CAA just came out with their annual prediction that the service time cutoff for Super 2 arb eligibility this offseason will be 2 years + 139 days. They may be off by a few days either way, but it's obvious that Buster Posey will qualify as Super 2 eligible since he will be at 2 years + 161 days at the end of the 2012 regular season. As an aside, if Sabes hadn't decided to call up Buster in Sept. of 2009 (only to have Bochy sit his butt on the bench) then Buster would not be arb eligible this offseason.
So, how much will Buster cost the Giants this offseason? It's difficult to come up with a definitive guess, as there are several distinctly different scenarios that could play out. Posey could:
1. sign a MadBum-like, multi-year contract that would buy out his remaining 4 years of arb-eligibility plus his first few years of free agency eligibility; or
2. he could go the Timmy route and hold out for a 2-year deal with much higher annual salaries; or
3. he could go fully gonzo and force an arb hearing in an attempt to break the bank and become a member of the exclusive 8-figure, less than 3 years service time, salary club (a club that only Ryan Howard currently belongs to).
If he goes with the first option, then I think that he would pull down a 2013 salary in the $4M-$5M range.
If he goes with the 2nd option, then I think he'll end up with a 2013 salary in the $6M-$8M range.
If he goes with the 3rd option, then I think he'll end up with a 2013 salary in the $10M-$11M range.
For comparison purposes, here are some previous outcomes for players that were in similar situations to Posey:
Ryan Howard (prior to 2008 season): $10M, 1-year contrat - won in a Super 2 arb hearing
Tim Lincecum (prior to 2010 season): $23M, 2-year contract ($10M + $13M) - to avoid a Super 2 arb hearing
Miguel Cabrerra (prior to 2007 season): $7.4M, 1-year contract - in 1st year of arb eligibility (no Super 2 rule back then)
Prince Fielder (prior to 2009 season): $6.5M, 1-year contract - to avoid an arb hearing as a "Normal 3"
Justin Morneau (prior to 2007 season): $4.5M, 1-year contract - to avoid a Super 2 arb hearing
Ryan Zimmerman (prior to 2009 season): $3.325M, 1-year contract - to avoid a Super 2 arb hearing
I think that it's pretty obvious that the Giants will want to go the MadBum route with Buster, but I highly doubt that he'll want to go that way. I have no concrete reasons to believe this, but I get the feeling that Buster is going to go for a Lincecum redux and hold out for a 2-year, 8 figure deal. I really don't think that either Buster or the Giants want to go down the pot-holed road of having an actual arb hearing that could set a new 1-year arb salary record.
My final prediction is that Buster and the Giants will agree to a 2-year contract in the $17M-$20M range that will cost the Giants about $6M-$8M against their 2013 budget (in salary and signing bonus).