As the baseball world — fans and the industry alike — await the resolution in the potential hangup on the Mookie Betts blockbuster and the finalization of the reported trade sending Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling to the Angels, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets one possible holdup in the latter of those two deals: Pederson’s arbitration hearing is taking place this morning.
It’s an extremely atypical set of circumstances leading into Pederson’s hearing, as the Dodgers are reportedly in agreement on the framework of a deal that’d send him up to Anaheim at a time when they’re also set to argue his salary with an arbitration panel.
Had the two sides agreed to a swap involving Pederson earlier in the winter, the Angels could’ve prepped for a case in spite of the fact that Pederson has never played a game for them. That type of situation isn’t ideal for clubs but also isn’t unprecedented. As then-Angels-assistant-GM Matt Klentak told MLBTR several years ago in regard to Matt Joyce, whom they’d acquired in an offseason trade (and fortunately signed before heading to an arbitration hearing): “I still haven’t met Matt Joyce. I’ve negotiated his contract with his agent, we’ve traded for him, but I’ve never personally met him. … I’d really have hated for the first time I met this guy to be wearing a suit, sitting across a table, arguing over a million dollars.”
Viewed through that lens and considering the timing of the trade agreement, it’s only logical that the Angels wouldn’t be tasked with making the the case against Pederson’s camp on such short notice. They haven’t had time to prepare an argument for said hearing or even to try to come to terms on a middle ground between Pedesron’s $9.5MM filing figure and the $7.75MM figure submitted by the Dodgers.
Of course, the ultimate price point will in some ways impact how the two teams value Pederson. It’s highly unlikely that the outcome of the hearing will torpedo the trade, but it could determine which secondary pieces the Angels send to the Dodgers to finalize the arrangement. Given that additional layer of complexity, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets that an exec with another club “suspects” that MLB is having a third-party lawyer present the other side of Pederson’s case, thus entirely removing the Dodgers and Angels from the equation.
Between Pederson’s hearing and the reported medical snag in the Betts/Price/Maeda blockbuster, there are clearly numerous balls in the air that need to be accounted for prior to the completion of this series of significant transactions. A ruling on Pederson’s case should be known in the near future — arbitration results are typically known within a day of the hearing — which could bring some clarity to one of the many wrinkles in the Dodgers’ ongoing and extremely complex trade negotiations.