40 players exchange figures with their clubs following today’s deadline

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There was a flurry of arbitration-related news today as players and teams scurried to reach agreements prior to the noon central deadline earlier. 39 players did not reach an agreement with their respective teams, and as such, they have exchanged salary figures with their clubs. Of note, Braves closer Craig Kimbrel filed for $9 million, which is a lot of money for a closer in his first year of arbitration eligibility. The Braves filed for $6.55 million while most experts projected Kimbrel to get around $7 million.

Here’s the full list of players, broken down by team:

Angels (2)

  • David Freese (3B) filed for $6M, team filed for $4.1M (source)
  • Kevin Jepsen (RP) filed for $1.625M, team filed for $1.3M (source)

Athletics (1)

  • Josh Reddick (OF) filed for $3.25M, team filed for $2M (source)

Braves (3)

  • Craig Kimbrel (RP) filed for $9M, team filed for $6.55M (source)
  • Freddie Freeman (1B) filed for $5.75M, team filed for $4.5M (source)
  • Jason Heyward (RF) filed for $5.5M, team filed for $5.2M (source)

Cardinals (1)

  • Daniel Descalso (IF) filed for $1.65M, team filed for $930,000 (source)

Cubs (4)

  • Darwin Barney (2B) filed for $2.8M, team filed for $1.8M
  • Jeff Samardzija (SP) filed for $6.2M, team filed for $4.4M
  • Justin Ruggiano (CF) filed for $2.45M, team filed for $1.6M
  • Travis Wood (SP) filed for $4.25M, team filed for $3.5M (source for all four)

Diamondbacks (2)

  • Gerardo Parra (OF) filed for $5.2M, team filed for $4.3M (source)
  • Mark Trumbo (LF) filed for $5.85M, team filed for $3.4M (source)

Dodgers (2)

  • A.J. Ellis (C) filed for $4.6M, team filed for $3M (source)
  • Kenley Jansen (RP) filed for $5.05M, team filed for $3.5M (source)

Giants (2)

  • Brandon Belt (1B) filed for $3.6M, team filed for $2.05M (source)
  • Joaquin Arias (IF) filed for $1.5M, team filed for $1.1M (source)

Indians (4)

  • Josh Tomlin (SP) filed for $975,000, team filed for $800,000
  • Justin Masterson (SP) filed for $11.8M, team filed for $8.05M
  • Michael Brantley (LF) filed for $3.8M, team filed for $2.7M
  • Vinnie Pestano (RP) filed for $1.45M, team filed for $975,000 (source for all four)

Mariners (2)

  • Justin Smoak (1B) filed for $3.25M, team filed for $2.025M
  • Logan Morrison (RF) filed for $2.5M, team filed for $1.1M (source for both)

Mets (2)

  • Dillon Gee (SP) filed for $4.05M, team filed for $3.2M (source)
  • Lucas Duda (1B/LF) filed for $1.9M, team filed for $1.35M (source)

Nationals (2)

  • Doug Fister (SP) filed for $8.5M, team filed for $5.75M (source)
  • Tyler Clippard (RP) filed for $6.35M, team filed for $4.45M (source)

Orioles (1)

  • Matt Wieters (C) filed for $8.75M, team filed for $6.5M (source)

Padres (1)

  • Andrew Cashner (SP) filed for $2.4M, team filed for $2.275M (source)

Phillies (2)

  • Ben Revere (CF) filed for $2.425M, team filed for $1.4M (source)
  • Antonio Bastardo (RP) filed for $2.5M, team filed for $1.675M (source)

Rangers (1)

  • Mitch Moreland (1B/DH) filed for $3.25M, team filed for $2.025M (source)

Red Sox (1)

  • Andrew Miller (RP) filed for $2.15M, team filed for $1.55M (source)

Reds (2)

  • Aroldis Chapman (RP) filed for $5.4M, team filed for $4.6M (source)
  • Homer Bailey (SP) filed for $11.6M, team filed for $8.7M (source)

Royals (3)

  • Aaron Crow (RP) filed for $1.7M, team filed for $1.28M (source)
  • Greg Holland (RP) filed for $5.2M, team filed for $4.1M (source)
  • Justin Maxwell (OF) filed for $1.7M, team filed for $1.075M (source)

Tigers (1)

  • Alex Avila (C) filed for $5.35M, team filed for $3.75M (source)

Players and teams can still reach agreements to avoid arbitration between now and when hearings start on February 1st. However, some teams simply don’t negotiate once the filing deadline passes. The Braves are one of them, as David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. GM Frank Wren said, “We have an organization philosophy of the filing date is our last date to negotiate prior to a hearing. We’re done.”

Last year, exactly zero cases went to arbitration for the first time in baseball history.

MLBPA thinks all 30 teams will take a “file-and-trial” approach to arbitration

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There’s something interesting deep in Ken Rosenthal’s latest notes column. It’s about arbitration, with Rosenthal reporting that the players union believes that all 30 teams will take a “file-and-trial” approach to arbitration this winter.

If you’re unfamiliar with this, it breaks down thusly:

  • In mid-January, teams and players who are eligible for arbitration will exchange proposed salary figures. The player says what he thinks he’s worth based on comparable players of his quality and service time and the team will propose a lower counter-figure;
  • Generally, the parties then use these proposals as negotiable figures and eventually reach a compromise deal, usually near the midpoint between the two figures, avoiding arbitration;
  • If a deal cannot be reached, they go to an arbitration hearing and arbitrators pick one of the numbers. They CANNOT give a compromise award. It’s either the higher player’s number or the lower team number.

In the past, a handful of teams — most typically the Blue Jays, Braves, Marlins, Rays, and White Sox — employed a “file- and-trial” approach, meaning that they treated the figure exchange date as a hard deadline after which they refused to negotiate and stood content to go to a hearing. As more teams have adopted this approach, there have been more arbitration hearings. As Rosenthal notes, last year there were more hearings than in any offseason for the past 25 years. Now, the union thinks, every team will do this. If they do, obviously, there will be even more hearings.

There is certainly an advantage to file-and-trial for a team. It makes the player and the agent work harder and earlier in order to be prepared to negotiate with the club before the file deadline. It also makes them work a lot harder to come up with a defensible filing number given that, rather than merely being an opening salvo in an extended negotiation, it’s something that they will certainly have to defend in open court. It’s also simple hardball. Teams have greater resources than the players and the agents and it’s less painful for them to pay for lawyers and hearing prep and to conduct the actual hearing. There’s risk to the team, of course — they might lose and pay more than a settlement would’ve cost — but teams are obviously concluding that the risk is worth it.

The only question I have is, if the union is right and all 30 teams will now proceed this way, how was that decided? Everyone suddenly, after several decades of arbitration, simply decided to take the same approach? Or was there, I dunno, a meeting in which the strategy was coordinated? Inquiring minds want to know!