'Tis the season for arbitration hearings -- or, in a sense, for teams to tell some of their players to their faces why they aren't as good as they think they are, all in the name of saving some cash. The process received a lot of attention last spring, when the New York Yankees voiced their displeasure with Dellin Betances's ask. That was after the Yankees were awarded the case, too.
It doesn't seem likely that any team will repeat the Yankees' mistake this spring. But that doesn't mean everything is good and fine across the board. Consider, for instance, what Toronto Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman tweeted on Thursday:
The tweet was later deleted.
Stroman, coming off a fantastic season that saw him post a 149 ERA+ and win a Gold Glove Award, requested $6.9 million; the Blue Jays countered with $6.5 million. As such, Stroman will make $400,000 less than he wanted -- and will do so after hearing the Blue Jays knock him. Brutal. Those with good memories may recall that Stroman not only won his arbitration case last spring, banking an extra $300,000 versus what the club wanted, but later tweeted about Toronto's professionalism during the process:
Times change, huh? Even if Stroman decides to hold this against the Blue Jays, he won't qualify for free agency until after the 2020 season. There's not a ton of evidence that the arbitration process drives players away, but that doesn't mean there aren't exceptions. Whether or not Stroman proves to be one is to be seen.