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McHugh, Odorizzi, Stroman win their arbitration cases

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Six arbitration decisions were announced on Tuesday. The results were being withheld until all cases were completed so that one case didn’t impact the other cases. Collin McHugh, Jake Odorizzi, and Marcus Stroman won their cases. Taijuan Walker, Chase Anderson, and Michael Wacha lost their cases. All six players were eligible for arbitration for the first time.

For those unfamiliar with the process, players eligible for arbitration file a salary figure they think they deserve and the team counters. If an agreement can’t be reached, they go to an arbitration hearing where an independent arbitrator will pick either the player’s submitted figure or the team’s figure. There is no in between in this instance.

Astros starter McHugh, 29, filed for $3.85 million and the team countered at $3.35 million. The right-hander made 33 starts for the Astros in 2016, putting up a 4.34 ERA and a 177/54 K/BB ratio over 184 2/3 innings. He was arguably the Astros’ most dependable starter.

Rays starter Odorizzi, 26, filed for $4.1 million and the Rays countered at $3.825 million. Over 33 starts, he posted a 3.69 ERA with a 166/54 K/BB ratio across 187 2/3 innings.

Blue Jays starter Stroman, 25, filed for $3.4 million and the Jays countered at $3.1 million. The right-hander crossed the 200-inning plateau, finishing with a 4.37 ERA and a 166/54 K/BB ratio in 32 starts.

Diamondbacks starter Walker, 24, filed for $2.6 million and the Diamondbacks countered at $2.25 million. In his second full season, the right-hander made 25 starts for the Mariners, authoring a 4.22 ERA and a 119/37 K/BB ratio over 134 1/3 innings.

Brewers starter Anderson, 29, filed for $2.85 million and the Brewers countered at $2.45 million. In 151 2/3 innings, the right-hander posted a 4.39 ERA and a 120/53 K/BB ratio.

Cardinals starter Wacha, 25, filed for $3.2 million and the Cardinals countered at $2.775 million. He finished with an ugly 5.09 ERA and a 114/45 K/BB ratio in 138 innings. Wacha battled a shoulder injury but is expected to be included in the club’s rotation “if he’s physically able,” according to GM John Mozeliak.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
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Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.

Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.

Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”

Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.

Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.