January 15 was the deadline for teams and arbitration-eligible players to officially submit salary figures for the 2021, and by the time the day was done, only 13 players didn’t reach agreement on a contract. The majority of teams now adhere to the “file or trial” strategy, meaning that no further negotiations on a one-year deal will take place between the arbitration deadline and a hearing with an arbiter, which theoretically puts pressure on players to get a deal done if they are wary about taking their case to a third party.
“File and trial” tactics didn’t stop the Astros and Carlos Correa from agreeing to a one-year deal for just the 2021 season, which is also Correa’s last year before gaining free agent eligibility. We also saw three multi-year deals reached, all from the greater Los Angeles area — the Dodgers reached two-year deals with Walker Buehler and Austin Barnes, while the Angels inked a two-year pact with Shohei Ohtani.
This left nine unresolved cases that went all the way to a hearing (held over Zoom) between an arbiter, the player, his representative(s), and front office personnel arguing the team’s side. The teams won five of the nine hearings, continuing the very narrow edge teams have held over players in arb cases in recent years — over the last 99 arbitration hearings, teams hold a 51-48 record over players.
For the full list of every salary for every arbitration-eligible player this offseason, check out the MLB Trade Rumors Arb Tracker. Sticking to the 13 players with unresolved cases from January 15, here’s the rundown…
Avoided Arbitration, One-Year Contract
- Carlos Correa, Astros: One year, $11.7MM (Correa filed for a $12.5MM salary, Astros filed for $9.75MM)
Avoided Arbitration, Multi-Year Contract
- Shohei Ohtani, Angels: Two years, $8.5MM (Ohtani filed for $3.3MM, Angels filed for $2.5MM)
- Walker Buehler, Dodgers: Two years, $8MM (Buehler filed for $4.15MM, Dodgers filed for $3.3MM)
- Austin Barnes, Dodgers: Two years, $4.3MM (Barnes filed for $2MM, Dodgers filed for $1.5MM)
Arbitration Hearings, Won By Player
- Ian Happ, Cubs: $4.1MM (Cubs filed for $3.25MM).
- Jack Flaherty, Cardinals: $3.9MM (Cardinals filed for $3MM)
- Mike Soroka, Braves: $2.8MM (Braves filed for $2.1MM)
- Ji-Man Choi, Rays: $2.45MM (Rays filed for $1.85MM)
Arbitration Hearings, Won By Team
- Dansby Swanson, Braves: $6MM (Swanson filed for $6.7MM)
- Donovan Solano, Giants: $3.25MM (Solano filed for $3.9MM)
- Ryan Yarbrough, Rays: $2.3MM (Yarbrough filed for $3.1MM)
- Anthony Santander, Orioles: $2.1MM (Santander filed for $2.475MM)
- J.D. Davis, Mets: $2.1MM (Davis filed for $2.475MM)
tom brunanskys black sock
These guys arbitrate and hit bombs.
The arbiter arbitrates,each party goes to arbitration.
tom brunanskys black sock
It’s a profit deal. That takes the pressure off.
Come on Rays. $1.8m for Choi? The guy switch hits for fun and hits jacks. Not to mention he can do the splits. Give the man more love than that.
Weren’t the Rays on a long arb winning streak?
Cuz the Rays have a history of paying players
Dutch Vander Linde
They’re gonna have to give him more because they lost that case.
As ever, I cant figure out what the Angels are thinking. Give a guy who hasnt done anything for the last two years MORE than he was requesting? Does it really seem likely that he will bounce that far back?
Moreno is clueless
More like the complication of that particular Arb case could have had disastrous results for the Angels and MLB
Over 2018 and 19 Ohtani was one of the top 25 hitters in baseball. For players with over 750 PAs he’s was 20th in wRC+. He pitched 50 innings and was very very good with a 3.31 ERA.
Do you guys follow this game?
Halo, 50 innings? Aren’t you one of the ones saying don’t put much stock in a 60 game season? Don’t be a hypocrite just because you’re a homer.
That was my first thought. Not only do they not follow the game, it doesn’t look like they follow the Angels either.
We are not just talking 50 innings. Why are you ignoring the 750 plate appearances. Combined that’s more than 1000 events. Those thousand events are more events than Tatis.
People who say he hasn’t done anything don’t follow the game.
Halo, because as a 2 way player you have to separate the 2. He’s been solid on offense with just over a season’s worth of plate appearances. His pitching equals less than 2 months of starting. If you can’t understand that, well, that’s on you.
I don’t have to separate the two. That’s like saying you have to separate defense and base running. His first two seasons he was great. .
2018 doesnt fit within my two year claim. And, BTW, he was no better than league average after June 2019. Much worse than average for all of 2020.
He had a great June of 2019; the last time he has done anything significant. By the end of June, he had hit 66% of the HRs he would hit that year.
It’s been painfully obvious that the league has learned how to pitch him. He hasnt adjusted since June 2019.
But, hey, if Arte wants to overpay, nothing has ever stopped him. He’s the poster child for it..
More than the club’s arb figure? ????????
He was horrible in 2020. “He hasn’t done anything for the last two years” is complete BS. You know who hasn’t done anything for the last two years… Richards and Kluber.
Not only has Ohtani done something, but teams pay players on what they think they will do and the talent is clearly there. And we know that because there are 1000 events that show us.
There is not a single team in baseball that would hesitate on paying Ohtani that salary. Not one team.
If you don’t think Ohtani hasn’t done anything then you don’t know the first thing about baseball.
Double negative…so he hasn’t actually done anything…is that what you are saying?
Thank you Cambio. They know as much about the game as I do about sentence structure.
@Halo11: Lots of negatives in that assertion. Seems that fine California schooling is working well for you.
To quote you
“Do you even follow the English language?”
Nope. I don’t know a thing about English, thank goodness it’s a baseball site. It’s clear that many people know less about baseball than I know about English.
Halo: “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?”
Message Board: “Man, no one understands the words that are coming out of your mouth!”
D-M. That’s funny. That’s on par with “your an idiot.”
Thank you for your fake news Mori
I think Swanson & Correa should have to pick a player from the bottom third of arbitration (like, Choi) to split money with – ya know, like the arbitration concept of CBT because it’s fair.
Hooray baseball utilitarianism!
Wow, no cardinals fans calling jack out for being to liberal? First on these message boards. Must not be the cardinal way
How can Bueler’s agent not get fired?
$8 million for two years is ridiculous. He’d make more money even if lost and got $3.3 million this year. He would get $4.7 million next year if he pitched even half of his projected starts. $4 million if he was hurt all year. This could even lower his base salary for his next arbitration year which will cost him further
Cap & Crunch
Lets hope its a wink and nod for a further pay day down the line!-
There hasn’t been a more important Dodger the last 3 years than this kid. I hope we treat him right when the time comes .
I would take him in a game 7 over anyone in the game right now, dude relishes it
A blister discount? I thought Buehler was the Dodger’s ace now.
How does Bueler’s contract make sense for him ?
Because it guarantees him 8 million no matter what may happen to him, whether it be terrible performance or career ending injury.
He could probably buy injury insurance, just like the team does.
u don’t understand Arb process. They would pay him even with TJS. Look at Thor and others….
the team has the ability to non-tender an injured player
While that is technically true, would Buehler really ever be in danger of a non-tender even if he needed TJ or another major surgery?
He’s controlled through 2024, so even if he was hypothetically going to miss all of 2022 LAD is not going to non-tender a top of the rotation arm with multiple years of control remaining. It’s like the Mike Clevinger situation, where he’s out all of 2021 but SD cut him a deal for that and his remaining arb year and are waiting for him to return. I have to imagine with his upside LAD would pay to wait for him to come back.
I love how mouth-breathers criticize the Rays for not paying players in arbitration, yet here are top-payroll teams doing the same. The hypocrisy and jealousy is real.
Getting Walker Buehler for 2 yrs. / $8M is an absolute steal for the Dodgers. One would think if he went to arbitration next year, he’d be line for $8 -$10M alone if he has a typical Buehler season. His agreement does have escalators that could push it over $11M in total but it’s still a great deal for LA.
Mark’s statistics for the last 99 hearings covers the 11 years from 2011-2021. There were no hearings in 2013; every team and player who exchanged figures that year settled. The statistics for exchanged figures that year are interesting. According to my research Clippard, Coke, Posey, Vargas, and Washington exchanged the same numbers according to an article that year by Ronald Blum. Blum, a long-time AP writer, stated that probably meant those five players had reached an agreement with their teams shortly before the deadline. Of the 37 settlements, 11 were multiyear deals, 5 were above the midpoint, 9 were at the midpoint, and 12 were below the midpoint.
The statistics for the past 11 years of hearings between players and teams are closer when you compare it to the entire history of arbitration. For the last 99 hearings and 11 years, the 48 player wins equals 48.5% of the 99 hearings. The team wins of 51 is 51.5 %. And, yes, those percentages are easy to figure out. Since 1974, there have been 594 hearings. The teams have won 336 or 56.6% of all cases. The players have won 258 cases or 43.4% of all cases.
So much for my editing – First sentence should read Mark’s statistics for the last 99 hearings cover the 11 years from 2011-2021.
So, if you want to know the earlier splits prior to 2011, there were 495 hearings. The teams won 285 cases (57.6%), and the players won 210 cases (42.4%)