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.”
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.