History suggests that players who lose arbitration hearings don’t stay with the teams that defeated them for long, but Jered Weaver has “no hard feelings” after a three-person panel sided with the Angels last week.
Weaver requested $8.8 million while the Angels countered at $7.365 million and the team came out on top after what Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports was a four-hour hearing.
However, the 28-year-old right-hander doesn’t sound very optimistic about the chances of a long-term contract extension:
From my understanding, talks never went anywhere. I’m open to it. I would love to play for the Angels for a long time. But I don’t want it hanging over my head for the season. Talks are done for now.
Weaver called the hearing “good” and “interesting” and “kind of fun in a way,” so presumably the Angels making a compelling case against his deserving the money he asked for won’t lead to any lingering resentment. At the same time, Weaver did say that “it was one of those things I wish I didn’t have to do, but the game has become very business-oriented and I found out business is business.”
Weaver, whose lack of run support led to a mediocre 13-12 record despite a 3.01 ERA and league-leading 233 strikeouts in 224 innings last season, will be arbitration eligible for the third and final time in 2012. His agent, Scott Boras, has tended to encourage star players to hit the open market as free agents.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.