The Orioles had six pending arbitration cases when salary numbers were exchanged. Two of those six have been settled over the last couple of days, with Bud Norris and Ryan Flaherty coming to agreements with the team on their 2015 salaries. That leaves the team with four players left to settle: Zach Britton, Alejandro De Aza, Miguel Gonzalez, and Steve Pearce.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman was the first to report Flaherty's salary on Sunday night, while the Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly broke the news of Norris settling on Monday afternoon.
Norris, entering his final year of arbitration, requested a salary of $10.25 million with the team countering with a $7.5 million offer. That's a fairly large gap to be bridged, but if both sides submit figures expecting to move in negotiation, it's not so bad. He ultimately settled with the team for an $8.8 million salary, just below the midpoint between the two sides. Still a nice raise over last year's $5.3 million.
Flaherty, as a bench player heading into his first year of arbitration, was working with much smaller numbers. His representation requested a salary of $1.5 million, while the O's countered with a salary of $900,000. Again, that's a large gap relatively speaking. That was not a barrier to a deal getting done. Flaherty and the team settled on a $1.075 million salary for 2015. Yes, Flaherty will be a million dollar man. Remember, he is better at baseball than you or I will ever be at anything.
In both of these cases, that ends up as slightly more than they were projected to get by the MLBTR predictor, so good for them. It's good for the Orioles, too, to avoid arbitration hearings with players over a small dollar amount.
For the players who still haven't settled with teams, the hearings will be scheduled throughout the month of February. Expect more to settle before that point, though in the cases of Britton and Pearce, there is a wide gap between the two sides in both dollars and percentage: Britton wants nearly double the $2.2 million the team offered him, while Pearce wants more than double the team's offer with his request of $5.4 million.
At an arbitration hearing, the two sides argue why their case is stronger and an arbitrator picks one side or the other. Negotiation is in everyone's best interest because you never really know who will come out on top, though the O's have been very successful in this process when tested over the past couple of decades. Since the hearing amounts to a player sitting there hearing the team talk about why he sucks and isn't worth what he wants, it can be uncomfortable moving forward from that.
The other two, De Aza and Gonzalez, have much easier deals to negotiate. De Aza requested $5.65 million with the team countering at $5 million. That's nothing. Gonzalez asked for $3.95 million against the team's $2.5 million request. It's another case that should be relatively easy to settle when they get down to it.