As was expected, six different Baltimore Orioles filed for arbitration this week: Troy Patton, Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter, Bud Norris, Matt Wieters, and Chris Davis. The Orioles go through this charade every year with players, and it’s generally a non-story in a sense. Many people will try to make it into a story so as to paint the organization in a poor light, however it’s a non-story. According to Roch Kubatko of masnsports.com, the sides will exchange preliminary figures on Friday and if an agreement can’t be reached at some point arbitration hearings will be scheduled for later dates.
The Orioles have generally won arbitration hearings when they’ve gone to them, and perhaps one of the most ridiculous ones in recent memory was a few years ago when pitcher Brad Bergesen went to arbitration against the Orioles – and was shot down. There was nothing statistically that told the Orioles Bergesen was worth more than what they were offering him, and the impartial arbitrator agreed with them. However two years ago the team came to an agreement with Adam Jones literally on the eve of the arbitration hearing, which isn’t uncommon. And for the record, there were over 140 MLB players who filed for arbitration, so it’s not as if this is big news.
Obviously the most notable players on the Orioles’ list are Wieters and Davis, both of whom are of course represented by Scott Boras. That makes it easy in a sense given that they’re negotiating with the same guy regarding two of their best players, however the fact that it’s Boras of course makes things very difficult. My personal opinion is that the Orioles will probably reach deals for both of them very quickly, so as to both keep Boras (and Wieters/Davis) happy and so that they have a better idea of what their payroll is going to be. There’s no question that both players are due substantial raises, especially Davis. I couldn’t foresee a situation where the Orioles would not be able to come to an agreement with Davis and end up having to schedule a hearing. But stranger things have happened.
For the record, other notables who filed for arbitration this week were Giancarlo Stanton of Miami, Jason Heyward of Atlanta, Mark Trumbo of Arizona, and Clayton Kershaw of Los Angeles. Former Orioles Pedro Strop and Alfredo Simon also filed for arbitration. If a hearing ends up being scheduled, my recommendation to Strop would be to make sure his cap is on straight.
Update: The O’s signed former Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees’ pitcher Alfredo Aceves to a minor league deal today. He signed a one-year minor league contract with a guaranteed value of 1.2 million if he makes the roster. It’s unclear whether or not the Orioles would in theory use him as a starter or a reliever, but it’s possible that he might be this year’s Jair Jurrjens.