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.

Comments (6)

  1. Not to get all pedantic on you, but you set a “precedent” not a “precedence.”

  2. I like the fact that the Jays are going to arbitration. I was getting pretty tired reading about the no-arbitration streak.

  3. The no arbitration streak isn’t over yet. I think the teams have until mid Feb to reach a deal. These are just the numbers that are now looked in for arbitrators, from which to choose. It’s either-or, nothing in between.

    It’s a good idea for the team themselves to not handle the process. IT gets messy and you don’t want to hurt the relationship with the player. I still think they’ll come to agreements with both players between now and the deadline.

    • But if Anthopoulos is looking at these numbers, I think he’s feeling pretty good about an arb hearing, and he said he wouldn’t try to negotiate a one year deal between now and the hearing, only multi-year.

  4. But what about 1 year with options? I see that kind of thing maybe happening for Frasor, which would probably be better than nothing for Frasor, because he got stuck in the Type A thing. How much of a difference is half a million, really? Not in real life terms, but in baseball terms.

    As for Bautista, my bet is they want a multi-year of sorts. The question is, what the heck is it you give him, and I don’t think anybody knows the answer to that. I don’t know that an arbitrator would side with the Jays on Bautista. Even though it’s over $10 mil, looking at what he’s worth is probably closer to that than the $7.6 the Jays offered, so he may go that way. Who the heck knows?

  5. @ Navin V: Hell yeah. But what I was reeeaaalllyyy getting sick of was reading about Bill fucking Risley every year. Ugh, enough already.

    @ Jeff: I think at this point with only one all-star type season under his belt, the Jays offer of $7.6 million (and the 317% raise that it represents) is more than fair. It would be different had he ever looked like he was capable of this type of season before, but he didn’t, so I think the arbitrator will side with the Jays in his case. I think he’ll side with Frasor in his case, but it doesn’t really matter as there’s not much difference between the two figures.

    I also think Frasor sealed his fate when he accepted arbitration and is good as gone in a sign and eventually trade. I mean if he can’t face the uncertainty of the free agent market, and feels the need to run home to what he knows before his market has even begun to develop based on what relievers higher up on the totem pole sign for, can he really be trusted with a lead in the late innings? Of course he could be some kind of financial genius and could have (possibly correctly) determined that his best chance to make the most money was to accept arbitration and come back here. Good for him. That’s well with in his rights. Regardless of what Frasor wants, AA won’t make the same mistake again, and he’s as gone as John Buck, Scott Downs, and Kevin Gregg IMHO.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *