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)