Hunter Pence and the Astros wrapped up MLB’s third and final arbitration hearing of the winter earlier today, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
Following the three-hour, 45-minute hearing, Astros general manager Ed Wade said that he expects the three-person panel to render a decision sometime tomorrow.
“This is part of the process we go through when you can’t reach a negotiated settlement, and now it’s all about baseball,” Wade said.
Pence filed for $6.9 million and was offered $5.15 million from the Astros when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. The 27-year-old earned $3.5 million in his first time through the arbitration process last winter as a Super Two. He batted .282/.325/461 last season while slugging 25 home runs for the third consecutive year and setting career-highs with 91 RBI, 93 runs scored and 18 stolen bases.
As mentioned above, we only saw three arbitration cases go to a hearing this winter, down from eight last offseason. Ross Ohlendorf won his case against the Pirates while the Angels won against Jered Weaver.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.