Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman had his arbitration hearing. He lost. He requested $6.9 million and the Blue Jays countered with $6.5 million. Somewhat surprising given how good a 2017 season Stroman had, but arbitration can be like that sometimes. As I recently noted, arbitration is a somewhat complicated process with some often counterintuitive forces at work and thus you can’t just go with “good player should win, bad player should lose” and expect to predict the outcomes with much accuracy.
As I also noted in that post, one weird part of arbitration is that a player has to sit there in the hearing room and listen to his own club talk smack about him. Maybe it’s not blatantly insulting, but the club’s lawyers do cite the problems with a player, his failures and his flaws and argue that, as a result, he should not get the money he’s asking for.
Based on the outcome, the Blue Jays’ lawyers did an effective job of that, but it didn’t leave a great taste in Stroman’s mouth:
Whatever motivates you, Marcus.
TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.
Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.
If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.
“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”
Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.
The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.
Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.