The deadline for teams and players to exchange arbitration figures was today, and after figures are exchanged deals tend not get done. As such, there are scores of players who have reached deals with their clubs today in order to avoid arbitration. We’re not tracking every single one — that’s rather tedious — but we’re mentioning the notable ones.
Maybe the most notable: Bryce Harper, who avoided arbitration with the Washington Nationals and will now make $13.625 million in 2018.
Harper made $5 million last season, the second one after signing a two-year deal in December of 2014. He’s still under team control through the 2018 season, so he and the Nats will have one more go-around with this next winter. He’ll turn 26 after that season and some suspect the 2015 MVP could command a long term contract of $400 million or more if he hits free agency.
The next two years will say a lot about that of course. His talent and marketability is undeniable. The only issue, really, is his health, which likely sapped his production in 2016. If he rakes this coming season he’ll likely get a record arbitration deal next winter and will set himself up for perhaps the largest contract in baseball history.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.