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.”
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.