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Aaron Nola, Luis Severino headed to arbitration hearings

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Scores of arbitration-avoiding deals were reached in the runup to today’s filing deadline. At the moment the best place to see all of them as they come in is probably MLB Trade Rumors, which has a running list of National League and American League arb-avoiding deals. More will likely trickle in as the evening wears on.

Two that won’t be trickling in, however, involve two of the best pitchers in the game. Neither Aaron Nola of the Phillies nor Luis Severino of the Yankees were able to reach deals with their respective clubs. Given what we talked about earlier today regarding teams going file-and-trial with these sorts of things, each of them can look forward to an arbitration hearing next month.

Nola went 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 224/58 in 212.1 innings last year, finishing third in the Cy Young balloting. Severino went 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 220/46 in 191.1 innings, finishing ninth in the balloting, a year after finishing third.

Part of what may have made reaching a deal difficult is that, historically, starting pitchers who are first-year arbitration eligible like Nola and Severino have gotten fairly low deals. Nola and Severino are quite a bit better than most firs-year arbitration pitchers and as such, there are not a lot of comparable awards out there on which each side can hang their hat for negotiation purposes. With nothing truly controlling to guide them, the the teams may have been shooting a bit lower than usual and the players a bit higher, making an agreement difficult.

Assuming there are no negotiations between now and arbitration time, it’ll likewise make for a couple of difficult hearings.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.