Garrett Jones’ hearing against the Pirates was the final one of the arbitration season and his loss means that teams defeated players in five of the seven cases that went the distance.
MLB Trade Rumors notes that the seven hearings represent just five percent of the 142 total arbitration eligible players, as settling for one-year deals and in some cases agreeing to multi-year contracts was the preferred route for both sides, as usual.
Jones lost to the Pirates, Jose Veras lost to the Brewers, John Lannan lost to the Nationals, Jeff Niemann lost to the Rays, and Brad Bergesen lost to the Orioles, all for less than $3 million. Both player victories came against the Marlins, as Anibal Sanchez and Emilio Bonifacio beat Miami for $8 million and $2.2 million respectively.
Last offseason there were only three arbitration hearings and the players won two of them.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.