From the Associated Press, via NBCSports.com, comes word that the Pirates engaged in a salary arbitration hearing on Wednesday afternoon with outfielder-first baseman Garrett Jones.
Jones requested a salary of $2.5 million and was offered $2.25 million from the Bucs when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. Despite the mere $250,000 gap, the two sides were unable to reach a compromise. Thus, a three-person panel of independent arbitrators will be tasked with choosing between one of the two submitted figures Thursday.
Jones batted .243/.321/.433 with 16 home runs and 58 RBI across 477 plate appearances last season for Pittsburgh while earning a salary ($450,000) just north of the league minimum. The 30-year-old will be eligible for salary arbitration three more times before getting a crack at the free agent market heading into 2016.
The Nationals recalled 19-year-old outfield prospect Juan Soto from Double-A Harrisburg on Sunday, per a team announcement. Soto is poised to become the youngest player in the league once he makes his official debut with the club, and the Nationals’ first teenager to enter the majors since Bryce Harper made his first appearance back in 2012.
Entering the 2018 season, Soto was ranked no. 2 in the Nationals’ system and 15th overall. He’s certainly lived up to the hype during his first two years of pro ball, blazing through Single-A, High-A and Double-A levels in 2018 alone. While he logged just eight games at the Double-A level prior to his promotion to the majors, he proved consistent across all three levels this spring and slashed a cumulative .362/.462/.757 with 14 home runs and a 1.218 OPS in 182 plate appearances.
It’s not entirely clear how soon or in what capacity the Nationals will utilize their youngest player, but Soto’s tear through the minors is sure to pave the road for a few opportunities on the big-league level. He’ll be available off the bench for Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers.