The players may be suffering through a winter of discontent in the free agent market, but they have now scored some notable wins in arbitration. Trevor Bauer of the Indians, Gerrit Cole of the Astros, and Alex Wood of the Reds have all been awarded the contract values they sought by their respective arbitration panels, per ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan (Twitter link).
Bauer will take home $13MM, a full $2MM more than the Indians had sought to pay him. Cole’s $13.5MM salary was about the same amount higher than the Astros’ $11.425MM filing figure. And Wood secures a $9.65MM payday that tops the $8.7MM the Reds defended.
[RELATED: MLBTR Arbitration Tracker]
Those cases break what had been a tie in arb hearings. The players already had a solid edge in the more significant cases, with Blake Treinen ($6.4MM vs. $5.6MM), Carlos Correa ($5MM vs. $4.25MM), and Tommy Pham ($4.1MM vs. $3.5MM) all coming out ahead while Kyle Barraclough ($2MM vs. $1.725MM), Michael Taylor ($3.5MM vs. $3.25MM), and Ryan Tepera ($1.8MM vs. $1.525MM) lost smaller-value contests.
In coming away with wins, all three of the starters also managed to top their projected earning power from MLBTR and Matt Swartz. Bauer ($11.6MM), Cole ($13.0MM), and Wood ($9.0MM) had projected in range of what they ultimately earned, but took shots on securing bigger paydays by making their cases to panels.
Bauer’s situation is particularly noteworthy, since he won a previous arb hearing and remains eligible for one more trip through the process after the 2019 season. This time last year, Bauer emerged with a $6.525MM salary rather than the $5.3MM the team proposed. That made him $1.225MM richer this time around as well, since his raise was dropped on top of a greater starting point. The same will hold true next year.
That serves to illustrate how important these cases can be to an individual player. But there’s also a broader market significance. Each data point that trends north can be cited by another player in the future, either in seeking a bigger arb number or in negotiating out the terms of an extension.