Figures have been released for arbitration cases, and despite Josh Hamilton filing for $3.3 million more than the amount of money that the Texas Rangers delivered ($8.7 million), the most intriguing potential hearing remains Jose Bautista’s who is looking for a raise of $8.1 million in his last year of arbitration eligibility.
The MLB Home Run King believes he’s worth $10.5 million for the coming season, while the Blue Jays only want to pay him $7.6 million.
MLBTR had an excellent write up laying out the cases for both sides in a prospective arbitration hearing between Bautista and the Jays. And while obviously, Bautista did set multiple team records last season, I haven’t come across any precedence to suggest that factors like that will play a huge role in the decision.
I just can’t see an arbitrator awarding Bautista more than $10 million for the same reasons I laid out earlier today:
1) Arbitrators aren’t going to examine contract extensions as a comparison as much as they’re going to look at the precedent set by other arbitration cases. Both Francisco Rodriguez in 2008 and Alfonso Soriano in 2006 lost their cases when they submitted a figure above $10 million, while Ryan Howard won his case in 2008 after he submitted a figure of exactly $10 million.
2) Even if the arbitrators were to compare Bautista’s case with other contract extensions or free agent signings, the Blue Jays right fielder / third baseman doesn’t have the same consistency with his numbers as the guys signing those deals. He doesn’t even have the same career numbers as guys like Howard in his first year of arbitration, let alone Soriano in his third.
Of course, the arbitrators could set a precedent of their own considering that a case like Bautista’s, going into his final year of arbitration after his breakout season, has never been heard before.
For Jason Frasor, things are a bit simpler with the reliever filing for $3.725 million, while the Jays only want to pay him for $3.25 million in 2011.
A couple notes that came out of today’s teleconference with Alex Anthopoulos:
- The Blue Jays will not try to negotiate a one year deal with Bautista prior to the hearing, but work on a multi-year deal could continue, if they’ve been discussing a multi-year deal, which Anthopoulos wouldn’t confirm.
- Outside counsel, not Alex Anthopoulos or one of the assistant GMs, will handle any arbitration hearings.
Another interesting factor to consider is that in the unfortunate event of a larger salary and a year of massive regression or injury, the Jays may not want to offer Bautista arbitration after the 2011 season, meaning that they wouldn’t get what I’m sure they’re hoping will be Type A compensation from the slugger leaving.