19 MLB players on track for salary arbitration hearings

Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

More than a few quality big leaguers appear headed to arbitration hearings, which have been known to get ugly over the years.

For several MLB players, the grueling, invasive and downright corrosive salary arbitration hearing process will begin this week.

In 2013, 133 players filed for salary arbitration, and for the first time in the 40-year history of the process there were no hearings. So far in 2014, 19 of the 146 players who filed still haven't come to an agreement on a 2014 contract.

Teams and players who aren't able to come to an agreement based on figures submitted by each side in January will state their cases in an arbitration hearing before a three-person panel sometime between now and Feb. 20. That setting is where things get testy between front office personnel and players, as former big-league hurler Greg Swindell told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2012:

"I remember sitting across the table from John Hart and Dan O'Dowd and being furious that this was the team I played for, but they were telling me how bad I was. I realized it was the business side of the game, but I didn't like it."

Hart, who now works in an advisory role for the Texas Rangers, had a similar account of the events:

"[It was] a blood bath on both sides. We were on one side and Swindell and his agents, the Hendricks brothers, were on the other. The process was very uncomfortable."

Those stories go along with legendary arbitration tales that came out of Boston in the 1980s, as shared last year by Tom Van Riper of Forbes.com:

"Rich Gedman, a Red Sox catcher who batted .295 in 1985, pointed out at a hearing that his batting average was among the twenty highest in the league. Red Sox officials, presumably with a straight face, argued that Gedman's average didn't even crack the top 100. How? By showing the panelists a list of every player in the AL, including those who batted, say, .333 by going 3-for-9."

The discomfort involved with the process is likely a big reason why there were no hearings last year. That won't happen this year, with notable starting pitchers Justin Masterson, Jeff Samardzija and Homer Bailey, power closer Craig Kimbrel and possible budding star Brandon Belt among those seemingly headed to that dreaded phase opposite their respective clubs.

Two of the biggest names were removed from the board Tuesday, when the Braves signed first baseman Freddie Freeman to an eight-year, $135 million contract and inked outfielder Jason Heyward to a two-year, $13.3 million deal.

Here is a full list of players who will be going through the rigorous arbitration hearing process, along with the previously exchanged salary figures:

Pos Player Team Club offer Player request Midpoint
RHP Homer Bailey Reds $8.7 million $11.6 million $10.15 million
RHP Justin Masterson Indians $8.05 million $11.8 million $9.925 million
RHP Craig Kimbrel Braves $6.55 million $9 million $7.775 million
C Matt Wieters Orioles $6.5 million $8.75 million $7.625 million
RHP Tyler Clippard Nationals $4.45 million $6.35 million $5.4 million
RHP Jeff Samardzija Cubs $4.4 million $6.2 million $5.3 million
RHP Greg Holland Royals $4.1 million $5.2 million $4.65 million
OF Mark Trumbo Diamondbacks $3.4 million $5.85 million $4.625 million
RHP Kenley Jansen Dodgers $3.5 million $5.05 million $4.275 million
OF Michael Brantley Indians $2.7 million $3.8 million $3.25 million
1B Brandon Belt Giants $2.05 million $3.6 million $2.825 million
1B Justin Smoak Mariners $2.025 million $3.25 million $2.6375 million
1B Mitch Moreland Rangers $2.025 million $3.25 million $2.6375 million
OF Josh Reddick Athletics $2 million $3.25 million $2.625 million
RHP Andrew Cashner Padres $2.275 million $2.4 million $2.3375 million
2B Darwin Barney Cubs $1.8 million $2.8 million $2.3 million
LHP Andrew Miller Red Sox $1.55 million $2.15 million $1.85 million
RHP Vinnie Pestano Indians $975,000 $1.45 million $1.2125 million
RHP Josh Tomlin Indians $800,000 $975,000 $887,500

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