The arbitration hearing between the Blue Jays and Josh Donaldson is set for Feb. 15, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter), giving the two sides 10 days to work out a multi-year deal. President Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins said last night that the two sides have been discussing such a pact, and the hearing deadline certainly gives the club motivation to strike a deal. The Blue Jays employ a file-and-trial approach to arbitration, which is to say that the team is one of many that have a policy against negotiating on one-year deals once figures are exchanged. That approach led to a hearing between the Blue Jays and Donaldson last year, and both sides undoubtedly would prefer to avoid a hearing for the second straight season. The Blue Jays won a hearing over Donaldson last winter, though he’ll have an American League MVP Award in his corner this season. Those interested in Donaldson’s case can check out an in-depth look from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, written as part of his Arbitration Breakdown series, prior to the exchange of figures.
Some more notes on various arbitration hearings around the league…
- The Cubs and reigning NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta are on a tighter schedule, as Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago/670thescore.com reports (on Twitter). Arrieta’s arbitration hearing is set to come next Tuesday — Feb. 9. The $5.5MM gap between Arrieta’s submitted figure of $13MM and the Cubs’ $7.5MM counter is the largest of any case this year. Swartz also examined Arrieta’s case at length.
- J.D. Martinez and the Tigers are continuing to discuss both one- and two-year deals, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Martinez appears open to a considerably longer-term deal, having voiced a desire to spend the rest of his career with the Tigers. Martinez said last month that the two sides have discussed a long-term deal, but it’s unclear whether talks on a contract extending the club’s control beyond Martinez’s two remaining arbitration seasons has been seriously discussed. Swartz broke down Martinez’s case at length as well.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports that the Orioles and Zach Britton have a hearing set for Feb. 17 (Twitter link). The two sides are facing a fairly sizable $2.3MM gap between Britton’s $7.9MM figure and the club’s $5.6MM counter. If a deal can’t be reached, it’d mark the second straight season with an arb hearing for the Orioles, who won a hearing over Alejandro De Aza last February.
- The Astros have arbitration hearings for Jason Castro and Evan Gattis set for Feb. 8 and Feb. 16, respectively, according to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart (Twitter link). With Houston taking a file-and-trial approach to arbitration, both cases seem likely to reach a trial. Castro, in particular, seems destined for that outcome, as he’s a free agent following the season and thus unlikely to hammer out a multi-year deal.
- While in many cases, the gap between the player and team submission appears trivial, there’s a reason that many teams take such a firm stance. MLBTR spoke to multiple Major League executives on the topic last February to get their explanation of the responsibility felt by teams in arbitration.