Brandon Maurer has lost his arbitration case according to FanRag reporter Jon Heyman, and will earn $2.95 million this year. Maurer filed for arbitration requesting $3.5 million. The 27-year old right-hander had a 6.52 ERA but a 3.93 FIP with 59 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings with 22 saves last year in time split between the Padres and Royals. He was in his second year of arbitration and earned $1.9 million last year. MLB Trade Rumors projected him to earn $3.8 million this year.
The arbitration panel must side with either the player or team, not a number in-between. The factors considered by the panel include on- and off-the field contributions, the length and consistency of the player’s career, past compensation, physical injuries, team performance, and comparative salaries. Past salaries and service time weigh heavily as considerations, and typically mainstream stats are used as opposed to advanced stats to avoid alienating the panel. Pay cuts are rare, with players almost always getting a raise.
The Royals have never had a hearing under Dayton Moore, their last case coming in 2006 when they lost to Emil Brown. There had been a decline in arbitration hearings over the last decade, but there has been a sharp uptick in cases this year, with the Braves and Mike Foltynewicz going to their hearing over a difference of just $100,000.
The players have won 10 of the 18 arbitration cases this winter in the most arbitration hearings since 1990.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 15, 2018
In the past, teams have generally sought to avoid arbitration hearings, as they have to take the side of pointing out the negative flaws of the player. The situation can cause some animosity, as demonstrated by Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman this week.
Maurer’s contract is not guaranteed - the Royals could still cut him by the sixteenth day in spring training and owe him just one-sixth of his salary. He is expected to compete for the closer’s role with Kelvin Herrera.