For all the speculation about which Type A and Type B free agents would and wouldn’t accept arbitration offers just two of the 27 eligible players said yes: Frank Francisco of the Rangers and Jason Frasor of the Blue Jays.
I’ve seen some suggestions that the low number of accepted arbitration offers means this offseason is a player’s market, but in reality two out of 27 is a pretty standard acceptance rate. Last offseason three players (Carl Pavano, Rafael Soriano, and Rafael Betancourt) accepted arbitration and the winter before that two players (Darren Oliver and David Weathers) did so.
It’s interesting to note that, of the seven free agents to accept arbitration offers in the past three years, six of them are relievers. I wrote earlier this month about how the free agent compensation system significantly overrates relievers relative to other positions by pegging them as 37 percent of Type A free agents, and certainly six of the past seven arbitration acceptances coming from relievers is more evidence of that.
Free agents accept arbitration when they believe returning to their old team on a one-year contract beats whatever offers they can get on the open market, so clearly relievers’ values are the most likely to be overrated by the Type A and Type B designations. The compensation system is faulty for any number of reasons, but the weight given to relief performances is seemingly one of the more obvious and easy-to-fix problems.
Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.
Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.
Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.