Once again, the Toronto Blue Jays managed to avoid going to arbitration hearings with any of their eligible players by agreeing to terms with Brett Cecil, Colby Rasmus, and Esmil Rogers on Friday before salary figures were exchanged. It pushes the Blue Jays' streak to 16 years without going through the awkward process where the club has to basically trash-talk their players in front of three lawyers in order to justify their salary offer.
The Blue Jays have only gone to eight arbitration hearings, the last being with Bill Risley in 1997, who asked for $550,000 while the club offered $380,000. The arbitrators ruled in favour of the Blue Jays in that case, pushing the franchise's all-time arbitration record to five wins and three losses:
- 1980: Dave Lemanczyk (RHP) LOST in arbitration. Club offered $130k, he asked for $165k.
- 1980: Roy Howell (3B) WON in arbitration. Club offered $110k, he asked for $133k.
- 1982: Dave Stieb (RHP) LOST in arbitration. Club offered $250k, he asked for $325k.
- 1983: Damaso Garcia (2B) WON in arbitration. Club offered $300k, he asked for $400k.
- 1983: Roy Lee Jackson (RHP) LOST in arbitration. Club offered $155k, he asked for $225k.
- 1988: Tom Henke (RHP) LOST in arbitration. Club offered $725k, he asked for $1.025MM.
- 1991: Roberto Alomar (2B) WON in arbitration. Club offered $825k, he asked for $1.25MM.
- 1997: Bill Risley (RHP) LOST in arbitration. Club offered $380k, he asked for $550k.
However, the Blue Jays are not the holders of the longest active streak: the Cleveland Indians headed into arbitration with Jerry Browne and Greg Swindell in 1991 and haven't been back since. Currently, six teams have yet to go through arbitration in the 21st century: the Indians, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Tigers, Mariners, and Rangers.
There are still several weeks until the hearings begin, but the Indians are in danger of breaking their streak: they have exchanged figures with Josh Tomlin, Justin Masterson, and Michael Brantley. Tomlin is just $175,000 apart, Brantley is $1.1 million apart, but Masterson is $3.75 million apart with his club. Masterson is asking for $11.8 million and the Indians have offered $8.05 million, making it the largest arbitration gap in 2014. The Cardinals, Mariners, and Tigers also have pending arbitration cases.
Last year was the first year Major League Baseball saw no arbitration hearings since the mid-1970's, but it looks like there will be at least three cases this season as the Atlanta Braves have announced that they will go into hearings with Craig Kimbrel, Freddy Freeman, and Jason Heyward.
And because you were too kind to ask for it, here is a compiled list of the last arbitration case(s) each team has gone through, sorted in chronological order of the year of the last hearing:
|Indians||1991||Jerry Browne||$ 1,100,000||$ 800,000||Club|
|Indians||1991||Greg Swindell||$ 2,025,000||$ 1,400,000||Player|
|Blue Jays||1997||Bill Risley||$ 550,000||$ 380,000||Club|
|Cardinals||1999||Darren Oliver||$ 4,150,000||$ 3,550,000||Club|
|Tigers||2000||Karim Garcia||$ 700,000||$ 475,000||Player|
|Mariners||2000||Brian L. Hunter||$ 2,450,000||$ 1,750,000||Player|
|Rangers||2000||Lee Stevens||$ 475,000||$ 350,000||Club|
|Diamondbacks||2001||Damian Miller||$ 1,250,000||$ 850,000||Player|
|Braves||2001||Andruw Jones||$ 8,200,000||$ 6,400,000||Player|
|Braves||2001||Kevin Millwood||$ 3,900,000||$ 3,100,000||Club|
|Braves||2001||John Rocker||$ 2,980,000||$ 1,900,000||Club|
|White Sox||2001||Keith Foulke||$ 3,100,000||$ 2,200,000||Player|
|Red Sox||2002||Ronaldo Arrojo||$ 2,800,000||$ 1,900,000||Club|
|Reds||2004||Chris Reitsma||$ 1,450,000||$ 950,000||Club|
|Giants||2004||A.J. Pierzynski||$ 3,500,000||$ 2,250,000||Player|
|Athletics||2005||Juan Cruz||$ 860,000||$ 600,000||Club|
|Royals||2006||Emil Brown||$ 1,775,000||$ 1,400,000||Club|
|Twins||2006||Kyle Lohse||$ 3,950,000||$ 3,400,000||Player|
|Dodgers||2007||Joe Beimel||$ 1,250,000||$ 912,500||Club|
|Padres||2007||Todd Walker||$ 3,950,000||$ 2,750,000||Player|
|Rockies||2008||Brian Fuentes||$ 6,500,000||$ 5,050,000||Club|
|Mets||2008||Oliver Perez||$ 6,500,000||$ 4,725,000||Player|
|Yankees||2008||Chien-Ming Wang||$ 4,600,000||$ 4,000,000||Club|
|Phillies||2008||Ryan Howard||$ 10,000,000||$ 7,000,000||Player|
|Cubs||2010||Ryan Theriot||$ 3,400,000||$ 2,600,000||Club|
|Astros||2011||Hunter Pence||$ 6,900,000||$ 5,150,000||Player|
|Angels||2011||Jared Weaver||$ 8,800,000||$ 7,365,000||Club|
|Orioles||2012||Brad Bergesen||$ 1,200,000||$ 800,000||Club|
|Marlins||2012||Anibal Sanchez||$ 8,000,000||$ 6,900,000||Player|
|Marlins||2012||Emilio Bonifacio||$ 2,200,000||$ 1,950,000||Player|
|Brewers||2012||Jose Veras||$ 2,375,000||$ 2,000,000||Club|
|Pirates||2012||Garrett Jones||$ 2,500,000||$ 2,250,000||Club|
|Rays||2012||Jeff Niemann||$ 3,200,000||$ 2,750,000||Club|
|Nationals||2012||John Lannan||$ 5,700,000||$ 5,000,000||Club|
Of course, even though there was a column for who won each case, the reality is that in arbitration, nobody wins. Well, except for the lawyers.
Source: The Biz of Baseball's "MLB Salary Arbitration Scoreboard"