Salary arbitration this year concluded in February, but remained relevant into spring training thanks to public comments from Corbin Burnes of the Brewers and Rays reliever Ryan Thompson about their arbitration hearings.
Malachi Hayes had a wonderful breakdown of the last dozen years of arbitration hearings at Baseball Prospectus. He found that it’s extremely unlikely for players who go through an arbitration hearings to remain with their teams once free agency hits, and that teams are more willing to go to arbitration hearings now, with an increase in hearings unseen since leading up to the 1994 strike.
Hayes also noted how relief pitchers get hammered through the arbitration process.
“For relievers in their early arbitration years, this money can make up a substantial portion of their already suppressed earnings. The average offer gap for the 14 relievers who went to a hearing in their first year of eligibility was 29%, more than 7% higher than the gap for starters and position players,” Hayes wrote. “In short, relievers are subjected to the double-whammy of having more at stake than their counterparts while being a fraction as successful.”
Marc Normandin at his newsletter used Thompson’s hearing as an example of how the Players Association can improve to counter MLB teams:
“Teams are of course heavily coached by MLB in how to handle arbitration, and clubs like the Rays certainly don’t need any convincing that they should do their best to win arbitration cases and keep payroll down,” Normandin wrote, “so a reliever like Thompson, whose role is less historically established in terms of apparent excellent than a position player or starting pitcher, is at a disadvantage.”
- Will Smith is likely to hit third for the Dodgers this season. Doug Padilla at the Orange County Register has more, including manager Dave Roberts saying, “It’s hard to go wrong with him in the three. A guy that can hit left, hit right, he can drive runs in, values the walk, so it makes sense.”
- While we wonder what version of J.D. Martinez the Dodgers are getting in 2023, Rowan Kavner at Fox Sports wrote about Martinez’s reunion with hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc, who helped Martinez transform his career nearly a decade ago.
- Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic has more on Tony Gonsolin’s left ankle sprain that could potentially delay the start of the right-hander’s regular season.