Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna has lost his arbitration case, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. The right-hander had filed for a $5.8MM payday in his first trip through the arbitration process, but he’ll instead take home the $5.3MM salary that Toronto filed for. That amount represents about a $4.75MM raise in his first arb year, and falls just $300K shy of the $5.6MM figure projected by MLBTR’s Matt Swartz.
Osuna has shown excellent command of the strike zone over the course of his three MLB seasons, evidenced by his phenomenal 6.15 career K/BB ratio (a figure that ranks third among qualifying relievers from 2015-2017). He’s posted a solid 2.86 ERA during that time, though ERA estimators such as FIP (2.69), xFIP (3.23) and SIERA (2.64) don’t quite agree on his true talent level. Regardless, Osuna is one of the top closers in the game of baseball, and he’ll be rewarded for it this season.
Fellow first-time arb-eligible closer Ken Giles will earn $4.6MM after winning his case. Giles has tossed 36 1/3 more big league innings than Osuna with better run prevention, strikeout and ground ball results. However, the arbitration process values saves heavily, and because Osuna has 95 career saves (30 more than Giles), he’ll out-earn his Houston counterpart by over half a million dollars this season.
Osuna was an international signing of the Blue Jays in 2011. He pitched his way onto the big league roster out of spring training camp in 2015 at the age of 20, and earned his first career save just two and a half months later. He’s been an anchor at the back of the Jays’ bullpen ever since. Barring an extension, he’s set to pitch three more seasons with the team prior to reaching free agency following the 2020 season.