The Blue Jays and Danny Valencia had an arbitration hearing yesterday, according to the Associated Press, and the team announced this morning that the arbitrator ruled in favor of Valencia. The 30-year-old Valencia had filed for a salary of $1.675MM, while the team countered at $1.2MM, as can be seen in MLBTR’s Arbitration Tracker. The MVP Sports client will now earn that $1.675MM figure in 2015.
As Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet notes, on Twitter, this marks the first time since 1997 that the Blue Jays have gone to an arbitration hearing rather than settling a case in advance (Toronto last went to trial with right-handed pitcher Bill Risley). They’ll likely have a second trial in the near future with offseason acquisition Josh Donaldson as well, given Toronto’s stance as a “file and trial” team in recent years. (That is, a team that does not negotiate arbitration contracts beyond the date that figures are to be exchanged.)
Valencia batted .258/.296/.371 with four home runs last season in 86 games/284 plate appearances between the Royals and Blue Jays. While he’s never replicated his outstanding .311/.351/.448 rookie season with the Twins (he finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in that 2010 season), he’s carved out a niche as a weapon against left-handed pitching. Valencia hit .321/.371/.464 against southpaws last season and is a lifetime .327/.368/.502 hitter when holding the platoon advantage.