The Arbitrary Arbitration Post

I’m almost certain that baseball players and their agents look forward to going into the courtroom for arbitration about as much as they look forward to a root canal.

Luckily, thanks to all the transactions earlier today, the Blue Jays have avoided arbitration hearings for the past 13 seasons. Had they not, this is the painstaking process that the player would need to go through – courtesy of “How Baseball Arbitration Works“:

In January, the player and the club each submit a salary figure to a three-person panel of professional arbitrators. hearings are conducted between the 1st and 20th day of February.

At the hearing, each party has one hour to present its case to the panel, and then has an additional 30 minutes for rebuttal. The player must attend the hearing, but is usually represented by his agent. A club executive or attorney usually represents the team.

Part of me wishes that the arbitration hearings were televised, but the other part of me realizes that it would probably be the most god awful thing to sit through. Unfortunately, the glamour and the drama of Law and Order or Boston Legal are nowhere to be seen, but at least they talk baseball … which would make it somewhat watchable.


Here’s a quick breakdown of which players on the Blue Jays roster received a pay raise, and how much it compares to their previous year’s salary:

The Player 2009 Salary 2010 Salary % Increase
Jeremy Accardo $900,000 $1,080,000 20 %
Shawn Camp $750,000 $1,150,000 53.3 %
Jason Frasor $1,450,000 $2,650,000 82.8 %
Casey Janssen $413,900 $700,000 69.1 %
Shaun Marcum $405,200 $850,000 109.7 %
Brian Tallet $1,015,000 $2,000,000 97 %

The Player 2008 IP 2009 IP % Increase
Jeremy Accardo 12.1 24.2 50 %
Shawn Camp 39.1 79.2 102.5 %
Jason Frasor 47.1 57.2 21.4 %
Casey Janssen 0 40 N/A
Shaun Marcum 151.1 0 N/A
Brian Tallet 56.1 160.2 185.6 %

While $1.15 million might seem like a lot for a guy like Shawn Camp, he is undoubtedly going to be pitching 60+ innings again this season with the young starting rotation. He usually eats up 2-3 innings at a time, so for an opportunity to give the other arms in the bullpen some rest, I would say it’s a smart investment.

Brian Tallet and Jason Frasor’s increases in salary are warranted – both played a vital role to the team in 2009, and probably also would have prior to that if not for John Gibbons’ aversion to using Frasor and Tallet.

Jeremy Accardo and his agent avoided bloodshed in arbitration as the Blue Jays threw just over $1 million to keep him on the team. This should Cito all the more reason to hand the ball to Accardo, but I think it’s very unlikely. Maybe we’ll see Mutiny: Part Two early this summer!

On the surface, the pay bumps for both Casey Janssen and Shaun Marcum might seem unwarranted since both of them barely even pitched in 2009. Keep in mind that Janssen was a workhorse in 2007 as the setup man appearing in 70 games, and prior to his Tommy John surgery, Marcum started a combined 50 games in 2007-2008 and pitched 310 innings.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

11 thoughts on “The Arbitrary Arbitration Post

  • January 20, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Your math is off.

  • January 20, 2010 at 1:37 am

    My apologies – it's all fixed now. That's what I get for skipping Grade 10 math class.

  • January 20, 2010 at 2:31 am


    I'd watch L&O – Arb struggle all day long.

  • January 20, 2010 at 4:07 am

    My salary went up 3% year over year. I'm in the wrong mother fucking profession.

  • January 20, 2010 at 5:56 am

    Camp's contract is appropriate for a veteran (at least, probably now) middle relief arm. None of those salaries you listed look outrageous to me, and all of the players have some value, so you wouldn't want to just cut bait with them.

  • January 20, 2010 at 6:00 am

    Drew, it sounds like a hit in the making. NBC needs to fill lots of programming anyway!

    eyebleaf, I know – we need to become baseball players. This three percent just isn't cutting it, I want a 109 percent raise like Shaun Marcum.

    Steve, compared to other ridiculous contracts out there (Brandon Lyon, Fernando Rodney) the Jays contracts aren't so bad. Each of those guys will play a key role in the bullpen in 2010, and who knows – maybe AA even dangles them as trade bait at the deadline?

  • January 20, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I know it's been brought forward elsewhere, but really, who wouldn't want to see Jeremy Accardo and The Manager in an arbitration hearing?

  • January 20, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Maybe this will be a little bit more incentive for cito to use accardo… I'm actually surprised they didn't try to move him at all this off season.

  • January 20, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    BK, the Accardo hearing would have so much drama that it could be televised in primetime. I'd watch it!

    Colt, Cito will somehow find a way to screw Accardo again. Legitimately, he could be a solid setup man, but Cito jerks him around so much that we never get to see his potential anymore.

  • January 20, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Is it spring training yet? When we get excited over arbitration it must be time to play baseball…

  • January 21, 2010 at 2:32 am

    Mattt, trust me – I am chomping at the bit for Spring Training to start. Opening Day can't get here soon enough!

Comments are closed.