The Toronto Blue Jays have lost their arbitration case against Marcus Stroman. The SP will earn $3.4M in 2017
The Toronto Blue Jays have lost their arbitration case against Marcus Stroman, according to Jon Heyman:
mchugh, odorizzi and stroman won their cases. anderson and wacha lost. #arb
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 14, 2017
The idea of a player “winning” or “losing” against his team is a rather dramatic way to frame the discussion. It adds fuel to the burning notion that arbitration hearings are awkward and combative situations where teams try and list the many reasons why a player does not deserve the pay raise he’s looking for. More and more, players and management alike are debunking this myth.
And, in the case of Stroman, it really couldn’t have been a negative situation anyway. He went in to the hearing seeking $3.4M and the Blue Jays were offering him $3.1M. So, even if the club had ‘won’, he would still be looking at a massive raise over his league minimum salary in 2016.
Again, it is important to understand that this whole process is not a form of negotiation. Each side presents their number and an arbitrator decides which to go with. So, we should be very careful of using the “for the sake of $300K, couldn’t they just agree to a deal” argument. The Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, so they would only negotiate if they were looking to sign the player for multiple years. In the case of Stroman, he won’t be a free agent until 2021, so another year or two can pass by before the club looks to do something long(er) term, if they want to go that route.
|162 Game Avg.||14||9||3.91||36||32||1||1||208||204||90||17||51||170||105||3.38||1.222||3.35|
In 2016, Stroman put up his first FULL season in the big leagues, pitching 204 innings, making 32 starts. While it might be tempting to point to his W-L record of 9-10 to say that last season was a let down – after his “legendary comeback in Spetember of 2015 – the fact is that W-L is a very limited way of looking at his performance.
In fact, what would be more effective is looking at his 60% (!) groundball rate, his xFIP of 3.41, his 2.38 BB rate and his 3.6 WAR. All of that dded up to a starter that Fangraphs assigned a $29M value to. So, regardless of the amount he would be making in 2017, it would not even come close to the value he brings to the mound.
If there is a metric that you want to pay attention to this coming season, you should follow his HR allowed. He gave up 21 last year. What is interesting is that he gave up just 21% flyballs, but the ones he gave up left the yard at a rate of 16.5%. For a pitcher who lives on the lower half, he’ll have to figure out how he’s going to avoid coming up and meeting that kind of contact. Of course, with a 60% GB rate, you might be able to live with a few mistakes.
Stroman will join Marco Estrada, Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ and Francisco Liriano to form what could be one of the more consistent rotations in all of baseball. Pitching coach, Pete Walker, has said that any of these guys could be a #1 starter on any given day. And, in fairness, we’ve witnessed that play out over the course of last season. Regardless of how much Stroman will make in 2017, he will be an integral part of what should be a very nice starting 5 for the Toronto Blue Jays.
*Featured Image Credit: ARTURO PARDAVILA III-UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0– cropped from original
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