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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.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.