Now here’s a really interesting case.
Of course, Jose Bautista shocked the baseball world last season by leading the majors with 54 home runs to go along with a solid .260/.378/.617 batting line, 124 RBI and a .995 OPS. Such a breakthrough season can be particularly tricky come arbitration time, so it’s no shock that the two sides were unable to come to an agreement before today’s deadline.
Bautista, who earned $2.4 million last season, filed for $10.5 million in arbitration today. The Blue Jays countered with $7.6 million.
So, what are the chances they avoid a hearing? According to what Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos told Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, the club is only willing to negotiate a multi-year deal.
“Our policy is … if we don’t have deals done by the 1 p.m. deadline, we would not negotiate a one-year deal,” Anthopoulos said Tuesday. “As a general policy, if multiyear deals were to ever come about, we certainly could continue to negotiate those. But those are obviously things that we keep private, keep quiet and keep in house.”
We don’t know how much confidence the Blue Jays have in Bautista to replicate his success from last season, but they have already guaranteed him a salary approaching $8 million. That’s not unreasonable. However, there’s a risk if they let this go to a hearing. Not just because of how uncomfortable they can be for both sides, but also because if Bautista comes close to matching his production from last season, he’ll be poised to cash in as a free agent next winter. Should be interesting to see how this plays out.