Blue Jays Lose Arbitration Case to Danny Valencia
For the first time since 1997, the Toronto Blue Jays have gone to arbitration with one of their players. Given the results, we can see why they’ve avoided it for so long.
The club announced that Danny Valencia has been awarded $1.675M by an arbitrator.
Last night, we’d heard that the case was presented and a decision was looming. Both sides were set to present their ideas as to how much Valencia should be paid in 2015. The decision comes in favour of one side or the other. It does not meet a middle ground. Either the club gets what they want, or the player does.
All of this can sound like it would create a contentious environment, especially when the two sides are “arguing” over a $400K difference. However, GM, Alex Anthopoulos sees it as just part of the process of doing business. He sets a number that makes sense from his side and hopes the player agrees. He sees it as an external party deciding upon the value of Player X performance. It is nothing personal.
Player X in this case is Valencia who came over mid season from the Kansas City Royals for Erik Kratz and Liam Hendriks. Since his arrival, he’s proven to be a handy right handed bat off the bench. His overall numbers of .258/.296/.364 aren’t overly impressive, it is his platoon bat that draws the most value. Last season, Valencia hit .321 against left handed pitching. With a .238 average against righties, it is clear that he will be called upon to split time when the club faces a southpaw. In case you’re wondering if last year was a fluke, Valencia is .327 lifetime against lefties.
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Valencia is a good weapon to have as he is a player who can come off the bench against a lefty in the later innings, of fill in for starts at first or third should it be required. Last season, he played 40 games at 3rd and 20 at 1st. HE proved to be a an acceptable fill in with only 4 errors in his time with the Blue Jays. Oh, and in case you were wondering, he has seen action at second base too. It was 6 error free games with the Royals. Of course, that is not to add his name to the list of options at 2B.
So, the decision by the arbitrator has decided the going rate for a bench player who kills left handed pitching. And, while the Blue Jays set a value that was below the awarded price tag, it is hard to imagine them as “losers” in this situation. Whatever the outcomes, they were going to go into 2015 with Valencia in tow. They were already going to benefit from what he brings to the table anyway. The only question was how much of their “Incredible Shrinking Payroll” this was going to eat up.
The future commitments of this club will be dependent upon the outcomes of their arbitration cases. The Valencia case did not cripple them. It will be interesting to see what happens if and when Josh Donaldson‘s case is presented. This time, he will see a substantial raise. However, if the Blue Jays are going to keep asking for another party to settle the Donaldson case every year, it could get expensive. They may be better off buying out his remaining years.