Players and their respective teams went to 14 arbitration hearings leading up to spring training, the most 2001. There were only three hearings last season and none the year prior.
Players won six cases and lost eight, following the trend that hearings have slightly favored teams historically. The six players who won:
- Pedro Alvarez, Pirates: $5.75 million (team filed for $5.25 million)
- Jerry Blevins, Nationals: $2.4 million (team filed for $2.2 million)
- Mike Minor, Braves: $5.6 million (team filed for $5.1 million)
- Mark Trumbo, Diamondbacks: $6.9 million (team filed for $5.3 million)
- Danny Valencia, Blue Jays: $1.675 million (team filed for $1.25 million)
- Vance Worley, Pirates: $2.45 million (team filed for $2 million)
The eight who lost their cases:
- Alejandro De Aza, Orioles: $5 million (player filed for $5.65 million)
- Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays: $4.3 million (player filed for $5.75 million)
- Mat Latos, Marlins: $9.4 million (player filed for $10.4 million)
- Jarrod Parker, Athletics: $850,000 (player filed for $1.7 million)
- David Phelps, Marlins: $1.4 million (player filed for $1.875 million)
- Wilin Rosario, Rockies: $2.8 million (player filed for $3.3 million)
- Neil Walker, Pirates: $8.0 million (player filed for $9.0 million)
- Tom Wilhelmsen, Mariners: $1.4 million (player filed for $2.2 million)
As Jon Heyman of CBS Sports notes, it seems that the cases tended to favor players coming off of disappointing or injury-shortened seasons (e.g. Minor and Trumbo) while productive, established players (e.g. Donaldson and Latos) tended to lose.
The Los Angeles Times reports that federal agents have interviewed at least six current and former Angels players as part of their investigation into the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
Among the players questioned: Andrew Heaney, Noé Ramirez, Trevor Cahill, and Matt Harvey. An industry source tells NBC Sports that the interviews by federal agents are part of simultaneous investigations into Skaggs’ death by United States Attorneys in both Texas and California.
There has been no suggestion that the players are under criminal scrutiny or are suspected of using opioids. Rather, they are witnesses to the ongoing investigation and their statements have been sought to shed light on drug use by Skaggs and the procurement of illegal drugs by him and others in and around the club.
Skaggs asphyxiated while under the influence of fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol in his Texas hotel room on July 1. This past weekend, ESPN reported that Eric Kay, the Los Angeles Angels’ Director of Communications, knew that Skaggs was an Oxycontin addict, is an addict himself, and purchased opioids for Skaggs and used them with him on multiple occasions. Kay has told DEA agents that, apart from Skaggs, at least five other Angels players are opioid users and that other Angels officials knew of Skaggs’ use. The Angels have denied Kay’s allegations.
In some ways this all resembles what happened in Pittsburgh in the 1980s, when multiple players were interviewed and subsequently called as witnesses in prosecutions that came to be known as the Pittsburgh Drug Trials. There, no baseball players were charged with crimes in connection with what was found to be a cocaine epidemic inside Major League clubhouses, but their presence as witnesses caused the prosecutions to be national news for weeks and months on end.