After agreeing to terms with five arbitration eligible players yesterday, the Oakland Athletics exchanged arbitration figures with their remaining player. Relief pitcher Craig Breslow is in his first year of arbitration and asked for $1.55 million. The A’s offered him $1.15 million. Breslow was quite solid in the A’s bullpen and will be an important cog in what should be an impressive 2011 bullpen. Breslow pitched a career-high 74 2/3 innings last season but will probably see a decline in that total given the recent additions to the pen.
MLB- or baseball-style arbitration (often used to describe this style even outside of baseball) requires the two sides propose one year contracts. As would be expected, the player’s figure is higher than the team’s figure. The neutral arbitrator then hears both sides present evidence why their figure is the better figure. This is then concluded by the arbitrator picking one of the two figures as the winner. They do not split the difference or weight the figure based on the two submissions.
Since salary arbitration first developed in 1974 (PDF), there have been 495 arbitration cases that went to the hearing. In those 495 cases, the team has 57.6% of the time (285 victories). Last season the Giants had three significant players file for arbitration but they settled all three cases. Tim Lincecum settled his case with a two year contract, Brian went for a mid-way deal, and Jonathan Sanchez agreed on a one year contract before they needed to exchange figures.