Right-hander Jack Flaherty has won his arbitration hearing with the Cardinals, FanSided’s Robert Murray reports (Twitter link). Flaherty will receive the $3.9MM salary he was seeking in 2021, as opposed to the $3MM offered by St. Louis.
It’s a very nice result for Flaherty in his first year of arbitration eligibility, and it lines him up for significantly higher escalating salaries over his next two arb years. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected Flaherty for a salary in the range of $2.2MM to $3MM, and while the Cardinals were even on the higher end of that projection, the arbiter ruled in Flaherty’s favor.
Flaherty was excellent in his first two full big league seasons, finishing fifth in NL Rookie Of The Year voting in 2018 and then fourth in NL Cy Young voting in 2019. By that standard, 2020 was a down year since Flaherty posted a 4.91 ERA and 9.4BB%, but many of his underlying metrics were still strong — a 28.8 K%, a 3.89 SIERA, and an above-average job at limiting hard contact. Of course, 2020 was such an odd season that it’s hard to make any real conclusions about Flaherty’s performance, particularly given how the Cardinals had even more of a difficult time than most teams given their widespread COVID-19 outbreak and the heavy schedule full of make-up games down the stretch.
As noted by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, this marks the Cardinals’ first defeat in an arbitration hearing since back in 1994 (against former All-Star Gregg Jefferies). “The current front office and ownership group had never lost an arbitration, and they once went more than 15 years without one,” Goold wrote.