The deadline to avoid arbitration hearings was yesterday at one o’clock, and the Orioles have been able to come to terms with six-of-nine eligible players. Much like the trade deadline, the news of deals being struck were still coming in well after the deadline.
As you may, or may not know, the players eligible for arbitration this year are Chris Tillman, Ryan Flaherty, Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Brad Brach, Jonathan Schoop, T.J. McFarland, Kevin Gausman, and Caleb Joseph.
Chris Tillman will make $10.05MM in 2017, an increase of $3.825MM from 2016.
Ryan Flaherty will make $1.8MM in 2017, an increase of $300K from 2016.
Manny Machado will make $11.5MM in 2017, an increase of $6.5MM from 2016.
Zach Britton will make $11.4MM in 2017, an increase of $4.65MM from 2016.
Jonathan Schoop will make $3.475MM in 2017, an increase of $2.953MM from 2016.
T.J. McFarland will make $685K in 2017, an increase of $161.5K from 2016.
You’ll notice there that Brad Brach, Kevin Gausman, and Caleb Joseph did not reach an agreement, and therefore, will be heading to arbitration hearings. According to Roch Kubatko, those hearings can take place anytime between January 30, and February 17.
In a blog last night, Roch posted that according to FanRag sports, Brach filed for arbitration at $3.05MM, and the Orioles were willing to offer $2.525MM. Kevin Gausman had filed at $3.55MM, and the Orioles countered with $3.15MM, and Caleb Joseph filed at $1MM, and the Orioles were willing to go $700K.
The largest disparity between filing and offering comes with Brad Brach, with a $525K difference there. So would it be so bad if the Orioles and Brach agreed to terms on a contract worth $3.05MM for one season?
Brach had the sixth highest WAR (2.6) on the team last season, and was second to Zach Britton for best overall WAR as a reliever for the O’s. Brach limited right-handed batters to a line of .126/.182/.212 in 166 plate appearances, and he faced 65 batters in high leverage situations through 15.2 innings, striking out 21 of them. Brach stranded 43.5% of runners on base in high leverage situations, and also had a 0.87 WHIP with runners on-base.
It seems to me that agreeing to terms with Brach for the extra money wouldn’t have been such a bad idea, however, the Orioles have other plans.
They will be employing a “file-and-trial” stance with Brach. This can be described as a method to get the agent to focus on a real figure to represent the player’s actual value to the team.
Brach is very valuable. I should know because I cited him as being the best trade piece, and had suggested a trade to the Mariners, for Seth Smith, and a prospect. Low and behold, Smith came to Baltimore, but not for Brad Brach.
Coming off a career season in ERA, strikeouts, FIP, WHIP, BB/9, and appearances, Brach probably will make that $3.05MM figure. Keep in mind though, the Orioles have lost only one hearing in the Peter Angelos era (Ben McDonald in 1995). They’re 11-1.
Always something to ponder.