Arbitration Roundup, Part II: Notable Deals And Cases

With the day's arbitration activities complete, the filterable MLBTR Arbitration Tracker now has a full set of information for your perusal. The settlement amount is available for every player that has reached agreement already. And the team and player arbitration demands exchanged earlier today (and the resulting midpoint) are available for all 38 players that have yet to ink a new deal. (As always, you will want to reference the projections from the arbitration model of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.)

Let's take a quick look back, and then a quick look forward:

Notable Deals

The most interesting signings of the day included:

  • Starter Max Scherzer of the Tigers landed far and away the biggest one-year jump of a 5+ service year hurler.
  • Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, who received a record raise for a second-time eligible player.  
  • Outfielders Brett Gardner of the Yankees (link) and Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins (link) both got substantially more money than was projected by Swartz.
  • The Nationals signed interesting two-year deals with extension candidates Jordan Zimmermann (link) and Ian Desmond (link) that guaranteed their remaining arbitration years without extending team control.
  • Dillon Gee of the Mets became the first player to sign after exchanging figures, when he and the club apparently realized that they were too close to warrant a fight.

Notable Cases

As we move ahead, here are the situations most worth watching:

  • The Braves say they will go to hearings with star players Craig Kimbrel ($9MM vs. $6.55MM), Jason Heyward ($5.5MM vs. $5.2MM), and Freddie Freeman ($5.75MM vs. $4.5MM).
  • Homer Bailey and the Reds are nearly $3MM apart in terms of arbitration positions ($11.6MM vs. $8.7MM), but seemingly plan to use their time before the hearing to talk long-term extension.
  • Some of the other sizeable gaps between player and team filings, in absolute terms, are Justin Masterson and the Indians ($3.75MM), Doug Fister and the Nationals ($2.75MM), Mark Trumbo and the Diamondbacks ($2.45MM), and Matt Wieters and the Orioles ($2.25MM). 
  • More significantly, in some respects, are the differences in position in relative terms. These cases feature the greatest relative gulf (percent by which player demand is higher than team offer): Logan Morrison and the Mariners (127.3%), Daniel Descalso and the Cardinals (77.42%), Brandon Belt and the Giants (75.6%), Ben Revere and the Phillies (75.0%), and Trumbo and the D-Backs (72.1%). Among these situations, all of the player figures were further away from Swartz's projections than were the teams'. Belt and Revere — both Super Two players — were furthest away from the projected salary. The gap in exchanged figures can have a huge impact on the bargaining positions of lower-salaried players in post-exchange negotiations: they stand to lose much more by failing in a hearing, and their teams are better able to take on the risk of taking them to a hearing.
  • Amongst cases with over $4.5MM player demands, these have the largest percentage differences: Trumbo and the D-Backs (72.1%), A.J. Ellis and the Dodgers (53.3%), Fister and the Nationals (47.8%), Masterson and the Indians (46.6%), David Freese and the Angels (46.3%), Kenley Jansen and the Dodgers (44.3%), Tyler Clippard and the Nationals (42.7%), Alex Avila and the Tigers (42.7%), and Jeff Samardzija and the Cubs (40.9%). 
  • The two seemingly unnecessary disputes are between Andrew Cashner and the Padres (5.49%) and Heyward and the Braves (5.77%). And yet, both cases could end up in a hearing.

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