Most teams do whatever they can to avoid arbitration hearings, because presenting a case for why a player doesn’t deserve the money he’s asking for can often lead to hurt feelings.
Presenting that case well enough for the three-person arbitration panel to rule in favor of the team can be particularly ugly and Sam Miller of the Orange Country Register found that it may hasten the two sides eventually parting ways.
Miller went back through all the arbitration cases from 2005 to 2010 and found that a total of 17 players lost their hearing. Of those 17 players, Wandy Rodriguez is the only one who later signed a long-term contract to remain with the team that defeated him. Miller, who was framing the issue around Jered Weaver losing his case to the Angels this week, writes that “every other player has either been traded, released, or left as a free agent without signing a long-term extension.”
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.