Baseball’s salary arbitration process is generally a good thing in that it can help young and productive players get the money they deserve well before they are allowed to test the free market.
It also presents some hilarious situations.
According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels avoided arbitration Wednesday with catcher Jeff Mathis by agreeing to a one-year, $1.7 million contract.
Mathis, 27, batted just .195 with a .291 on-base percentage and .278 slugging percentage last season and also played poor defense behind the plate. In truth, he might have been the worst player in baseball to register more than 200 plate appearances.
But that’s how arbitration goes. Mathis made $1.3 million last season in his first year of eligibility and he will probably get a raise next season as well no matter what kind of results he turns in this year.
Unless, of course, the Angels want to non-tender him and risk another team picking him up as a free agent. One would have to assume that manager Mike Scioscia would be against that type of move because, after all, he was the one that allowed Mathis to play so often in 2010.
As far as ejections go, this is one of the stranger ones you’ll hear about. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game his team trailed at the time 18-6. Beltre was a few feet away from the circle towards home plate and was asked by Marlins pitcher Drew Steckenrider to get into the circle. So rather than step a few feet back to his right, Beltre picked up the circle and dragged it to where he was. And that got him ejected by second base umpire Gerry Davis. Manager Jeff Banister was also ejected after having a word with Davis.
Here’s a video from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:
Beltre, by the way, went 3-for-3 with a walk, a pair of doubles, and a solo home run. He’s now four hits away from 3,000 for his career.
Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford’s stock has fallen sharply this season. He had an abysmal first three months, batting .203/.321/.276 in 291 plate appearances. Baseball America rated him the 12th overall prospect in baseball going into the season and rated him No. 92 in their midseason top 100. It was bad.
Since the calendar turned to July, however, Crawford has been more like his normal self. In 92 at-bats this month entering Wednesday night’s action, he was hitting .300/.391/.650 with six home runs, 13 RBI, 18 runs scored, and a terrific 15/12 K/BB ratio.
Crawford padded his stats more on Wednesday night as he circled the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam. Via the IronPigs Twitter:
Crawford was actually dead-to-rights at home, but he fooled the catcher with a great late slide.
Crawford finished 1-for-3 with a walk along with the slam on the night as the IronPigs beat the Gwinnett Braves 8-2.